News Releases

February 25, 2008

Secretary of State Deb Markowitz Discusses Vermont’s Presidential Primary

Secretary of State answers some frequently-asked questions about voting in Vermont’s presidential primary

Montpelier – Vermont’s presidential primary is right around the corner and Secretary of State Deb Markowitz offers answers to some frequently-asked questions about ballots and procedures. “The Secretary of State’s Office fields dozens of questions every day. We believe that informing voters as early as possible helps make elections run more smoothly,” said Markowitz.

The deadline to register to vote for the March 4th presidential primary is 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 27. Citizens can register at their town clerk’s office. “All town clerks’ offices must be open between 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 27, to register voters,” says Markowitz.

Vermont’s polls will open between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. on March 4. Voters should contact their local town clerk to find out the exact opening time in their town. All polls must remain open until 7:00 p.m.

Voters will choose one party’s presidential primary ballot, and it is public record which ballot they choose. This is because the legislature and political parties agreed that instead of requiring voters to register with a party, voters would have to publicly disclose which party ballot they are voting in order for the Vermont primary to count toward the party’s delegate selection process.

This year, Vermont’s presidential primary ballots will include the names of some candidates who have withdrawn from the race, including John Edwards, Rudy Giuliani, Dennis Kucinich, and Mitt Romney. This is because these candidates did not ask to withdraw their names from Vermont’s ballot. “Votes for these candidates will count,” Secretary Markowitz says. “The political parties get to decide how to treat these votes when it comes to assigning delegates.”

The Secretary of State’s Office has implemented a Vote-By-Phone at the Polls system to assist people who may have difficulty marking a paper ballot. The system reads the ballot to the voter who indicates his or her choices by pressing the corresponding numbers on the telephone key pad. Voters may practice from home by calling 1-866-486-3838. “Any Vermonter who is interested in using Vote-By-Phone at the Polls to cast a presidential primary ballot simply informs the election worker upon arriving at the voting location,” says Markowitz. “This system allows the voter to mark his or her ballot privately and independently.”

Anyone who has questions about voting in Vermont can contact the Secretary of State’s Office at 1-800-439-8683 or visit the website at www.sec.state.vt.us.

Source: Secretary of State
Last Updated at: February 25, 2008 15:35:19