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September 29, 2008

Voting in Vermont

I like to consider myself to be relatively politically informed. Heck, I even vote! After reading Max’s post I was struck that I had no idea who was running in the primary for Burlington’s Chittenden 3-3 district, the area encompassing much of Champlain College’s campus. Dormitories like Summit, Main St. Suites, 396 Main and North House are swallowed into the 3-1 district, along with UVM, portions of the Hill section and the Old North End. Actually, I wasn’t sure how I could vote if I wasn’t a legal resident of the state or had a Vermont driver’s license.

So, listen up Champlain students. You can vote! And it’s pretty easy, even if you are a flatlander.

Luckily there is no waiting period for establishing residency in Vermont. According to Vermont State law,  “Residency is defined by where the person is domiciled, as evidenced by an intent to maintain a principle dwelling place in the town indefinitely and to return there if temporarily absent, coupled with an act or acts consistent with that intent.”

Voter registration forms can be found at City Hall on Church St. in Burlington.

Most individuals who have never voted in Vermont will need to take the Voter's Oath before a Notary Public City Clerk or Assistant City Clerk, a Justice of the Peace, or a Judge. Notaries can be found at City Clerk's Office during usual office hours. This is the easiest way of registering. They can administer the oath (simply stating you will vote in good conscience and will be not be directed by another individual) and complete the voter registration form. It only takes a few minutes. However, it means you can't vote in Mass, NY, CT, etc,. The general election for the Vermont House of Representatives will be held on November 4th, 2008.

If you're voting in the 3-3 district, it would be nice to know who you’d be voting for, right? Voters in the 3-3, Champlain’s main campus, have the option of voting for Rachel Weston (D) and Jason Lorber (D), who are both running uncontested. I predict a landslide victory for both. The race (or lack thereof) may not have the pizzazz of the Ram-Pearson-Zuckerman, but it would be wise for students and faculty alike to explore the candidates’ views and legislative history.

With Champlain’s eerily titled “Master Plan” already in full-force, and occasional dissent from community residents, Lorber and Weston may prove to be key players in shaping the look of Champlain. I’ve met Rachel Weston before and can tell you that she’s very accessible and makes it a point to hear the opinions of residents in the district. I can’t say I know much about Lorber but Weston contended that he's also active in supporting the community and listening to the needs of his constituents. You can check out their websites at www.rachelweston.org and www.friendsofjason.org

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Comments

bridgetb

Thanks for posting this info, James. I helped put together an event during the last gubernatorial election aimed at getting college students to register to vote in Vermont. I'm a big believer in voting in the elections that will most affect your day to day life. I understand that a lot of students still have strong ties to their hometowns, and might opt for an absentee ballot. But if you live 10 months out of the year in Vermont, chances are you will be most affected by elected officials here, not at home.

AshleyC

You may want to note that in Vermont for voter registration you can now give the oath to yourself (no notary or other official necessary!). For more details read the Vermont Secretary of State's website: http://vermont-elections.org/elections1/registertovote.html.

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