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Keep an Eye on Mail Voting in Spring Town Elections

Many towns will find their local town elections are close to the Presidential primary election on March 5.  Watch to make sure your town clerk does not ask your Select Board to eliminate voting by mail for the town election because of the workload from the Presidential primary.

The VOTES Act that passed last session requires that municipalities which wish to opt out of vote-by-mail for a local election must hold a public hearing and a recorded and public vote of the select board, board of selectmen, town council or city council not less than 45 days prior to the election. Section 25 B. (a)(1) here.

In opposing any such effort, check to see what percentage of your town’s voters used a mail ballot in last year’s town election.  Also note that opting out of mail voting will be particularly confusing for voters who checked the box to request mail ballots for “all elections” on the vote-by-mail application; those voters expect to receive mail ballots for all state and municipal elections.