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vt.Buzz ~ a political blog

Political notes from Free Press staff writers Terri Hallenbeck, Sam Hemingway and Nancy Remsen



Where you live and vote

Oddly enough, here in the center of the big city, there is no snow on the ground. That is not true elsewhere, we assure those of you who never get out of the big city.

Here's another oddity to scratch your head over.

Mark Shepard, the former state senator from Bennington who lost the GOP primary for Congress two years ago and is conducting a write-in campaign for that seat this year, doesn't completely live in Vermont.

He still has a house in Bennington. He's still registered to vote there, and did vote early _ not for himself because he voted before he was running as a write-in _ but he and his wife and four kids rent a home in Seneca Falls, N.Y. (which just happens to be my mother's birthplace), where he works as an engineering consultant. Most of his clients are in that part of central New York.

So can Shepard vote here? Could he serve as our representative in Congress if elected?

Secretary of State Deb Markowitz says a state Supreme Court ruling found that a voter could remain on the rolls if he/she had specific intentions to return, such as after they were done caring for an ailing parent.

Shepard says he would like to return, but circumstances right now dictate otherwise. That doesn't quite fit the barometer Markowitz spoke of. In fact, Bennington Town Clerk Tim Corcoran said the Shepards' house is for sale.

But Corcoran said he thinks Shepard has a perfect right to vote in Bennington. The measure for him, he said, is where one files income taxes, which Shepard does in Vermont.

Shepard said his status in New York state is similar to a businessman staying in a hotel. He ads that he still has a Vermont driver's license.

Interesting situation. Keep in mind that people in the military vote absentee sometimes through a long career to the address of the house where they grew up, whether mom and dad still live there or not. In the 1984 election, I was in Africa in the Peace Corps, thought about getting an absentee ballot, but didn't know if I was still allowed to vote at my parents' address, since my parents had while I was away sold the house and moved away (losing my baseball cards in the process). Turns out maybe I coulda.

Just came across this from Massachusetts, however. An odd compromise that makes somebody a voter of a state but not of any locality.

BOSTON (AP) — Gov. Deval Patrick has signed a new law allowing Massachusetts
voters who have moved in the past 18 months to vote Tuesday at their old
address if they failed to re-register at their new home.

The law will apply only to this election, in part to address concerns about voters forced out of their homes and apartments due to the foreclosure crisis. The ballots will be limited to votes for president, U.S. senator and the three statewide ballot

Under current law, voters who move must re-register within six
months. The new law extends that grace period by a year. Secretary of
State William Galvin said that without the new law, voters who attempted to cast
ballots at their old precincts would have to cast provisional ballots.

- Terri Hallenbeck

Did Corcoran force Shepard to kiss his ring and bow before him?
Funny. It's the right-wing, anti-gay, fetus fanatics rambling about college students voting in Vermont. They better note write in Mark!
My condolences on your baseball cards, Terri.

As for the topic at hand, clearly, the rules are different for gops and wingnuts.
My mom tossed all my baseball cards too. I never neglect to remind her that she threw away my down payment on a house. Seriously. The pain still lingers.
I feel your pain.

My baseball cards.

My wife's barbie stuff.

Our kids' star wars stuff and comic books.

Of course, the stuff is only valuable if ya never put them in the spokes on your bike, play with it or take it out of the packaging.

Where's the fun in that?
While at first glance my situation may seem, as Terri Hallenbeck said, a bit odd, my situation is actually all too common for Vermonters. Do you know any Vermont residents whose work is in other states? Why is Vermont the fastest aging state in the nation? Why are nearly 25% of Vermont’s young men under the supervision of the Department of Corrections? Why do so many Vermonters work multiple jobs? I believe all of these difficult situations and more are very tightly connected to why I presently am in a situation where I had to rent a place in another state. And this is not a first for me.

Twenty years ago, following college I came back to Vermont and spent about three months looking for an job that would fit with my Electrical Engineering degree. That time I ended up at Massachusetts Institute of Technology for nearly five years, most of which I was still a Vermont resident in all respects.

This time has been certainly more difficult than 20 years ago because now I have a family and aging parents, one whom passed away this year. Yet I am now as I was 20 years ago a resident in every way possible while doing what I needed to so we could pay our bills.

During my four years in the Vermont Senate most of my Vermont customers moved either part of all of their operations to other states. This left me with two feasible options. I could continue to live in a hotel all week and limit my time with my wife and boys to two days each week or we could rent a house nearer my customers and still have family time each night, like we did in Montpelier when I was in the Vermont Senate. We chose to rent a place near my customers, which happens to be central New York State. While our main reason was so we could keep our family together, it also gave us an opportunity to try to sell our house in Vermont, which we had tried while living in it full time. For some time we have wanted a place with a bit more land. However, we were not and still are not committed to either moving out of Vermont or staying in Vermont. There are pros and cons with both and while we are working though those it would make no sense to change our residency, especially since the only property we own is in Vermont. Additionally we have made very frequent trips back to our home in Vermont over the past year, not unlike what I did 20 years earlier from MIT. We maintain friendships and Vermont is where my family is and has been for at least six generations.

Yet even my situation is much better than so many Vermonters who were employed by companies that left. Many of these folks moved completely out of Vermont while others took multiple lower paying jobs to make ends meet.

So I understand these challenges and firmly believe they are directly connected to the lack of private-sector career opportunities in Vermont. Young people and young families need career opportunities. Growing up in Hartland, I never considered college until I was nearly done my electrical apprenticeship. Then at age 21 it was going to work with a friend who worked with computers in another state that first caused me to think about going to college.

These experiences in Vermont were always on my mind when I was in the Vermont Senate and they gave me strength to vote no on many bills that I felt would further reduce opportunities in Vermont, even if I had to vote no alone or with just a few of my senate colleagues and against the governor. My background is very different than Peter's as mine was not political. I suspect this is why we often had very different ideas about how to make Vermont a more prosperous for the average Vermonter. I firmly believe Vermont's present struggles are very much the responsibility of Peter Welch and the agenda he moved forward while he led the Vermont Senate. I do not question his intentions, it is just the results are what matter. Ideas not grounded in reality always result in failure and cause pain for many many people. This is what has happened in Vermont and the bailout he voted for is much the same as what he pushed in Vermont. Just as with the present national crisis, throwing money at Vermont’s problems is no solution at all. It only exacerbates the problem and continues to push young people and young families out of Vermont and away from those they love.

Should I pull of this long shot win, I will take these experiences with me to the Congress and work to increase opportunities in Vermont, just as I did in the Vermont Senate. Please check out www.shepardforcongress.org for more information.

Even today I am in New York State upgrading a system which I designed and built in Bennington in 2006. I am having a lot of fun, but would have loved this opportunity in Vermont.

Stuff it carpetbagger. You are white noise. Goodbye.
If you don't live here, you don't vote here much less run for office here. Check out the penalties for voting from the wrong address for people who do live here. How about applying that to out-of-staters.
Anonymous said...

"If you don't live here, you don't vote here much less run for office here. Check out the penalties for voting from the wrong address for people who do live here. How about applying that to out-of-staters."

Gee, that's really gonna cramp randy brock's style.
If you don't live her, don't vote here.
and don't run for office here.
Same applies to Randy Brock
Good luck with that!!!
I guess the test of residency for me is where you pay taxes, or in the case of a student, where you are claimed as a dependent for tax purposes.

I'm not very comfortable with the idea of college students who live in Vermont 8 months a year, don't pay taxes here, and whose parents take them as a deduction in their home state voting here in Vermont elections.

Likewise, Mark Shepard's status to me is about where he pays his taxes. If maintains a residence here and pays Vermont income taxes, fine. But if he just keeps a post office box in Vermont, lives in New York, and pays his income taxes there, he should vote and run for office in New York.
A lot of people from Montreal pay property taxes in Stowe.

I guess you think that they should be able to run for office here in VT too??!!
OK, Indy, let's say you've got some schmuck living the bulk of the year in, oh, say, Naples, Florida, for example, where there is no State Income Tax, and he wants to run for, oh, let's say, the Vermont State Senate from Franklin County, for example, because he maintains a Swanton PO Box.

What's your take on that? How is he any more of a "Real Vermonter" than some Second Semester Junior at UVM with a VT Driver's License and a '98 Saab Turbo 9000 with Vermont Tags and Vermont Insurance who spends her Summers here teaching Kayaking at Highland Lodge in Craftsbury?

Given those facts, that would make her a full-time Vermont Resident, and, given those circumstances, how is she any more or less eligible and/or qualified to run for the Vermont Senate than some nitwit from Naples named Randy?

The floor is yours, Indy.

Do tell.
It is all too obvious that many of these comments are just people who support the Bush-Pelosi $850 billion taxpayer bailout that Welch voted for. That is fine, just be honest about it instead of hiding behind some nonsense.

This new use of carpet bagger is quite humorous. FYI, Carpet bagger is generally used to refer to people who moved to an area with political ambitions. Vermont being a small state has seen its share of this, for example Sanders, Dean and Welch. By stark contrast, I had been born in Vermont, raised in Vermont went through the Vermont electrical apprenticeship, earned my engineering degrees and started my own business, which I operated several years in Vermont before even having the slightest thought of entering elected politics. However, having run races before I have seen similar nonsensical diversions as opposed to discussing issues important to Vermonters.

Do you also think Vermonters in the military should not vote? How about the Vermonters that went to work for Welch, Sanders or Leahy in DC? I am sure you get my point; your point is absurd.

So why not just stop this nonsensical yip yap and let's have a discussion on real issues. Why not start by answering the questions at the top of my first post? Or if you do not think those questions are really a concern of Vermonters, then what do you think Vermonters are really concerned about?
I thought I was pretty clear about my position: If you live here some part of the year and pay your income taxes here, fine. Whether you're a UVM student, Randy Brock, or Mark Shepard, you're a resident and should be able to vote/run for office here.

If you're not, vote by absentee ballot in your home state. And run for office there, too.
Mark Shepard..

It is all too obvious that many of these comments are just people who support the Bush-Pelosi $850 billion taxpayer bailout that Welch voted for."

No, that is the brain-dead bush/doogie bailout that eight years of bush-league economics put Welch, Vermont and the Country in a position where they were between the devil and the deep blue sea and we had no choice but to vote for a bailout so stuff a sock in that psychotic-slop you're spewin' right now, nitwit.

Ya wanna be honest, fine. Suit yourself. Let's be honest.

Ya used to live in Bennington, VT. Ya don't live there anymore. Ya live in Seneca Falls, NY. Try your luck gettin' them to send ya to Albany, pal.

Don't come in here shootin' your mouth off like you've got principles, pal. You were a gop. Gops don't have principles.

Gops are just brain-dead bigots with bucks on a good day. Evidently, you're short on bucks and ya aren't havin' such a good day or you'd still be in Bennington.

Clearly, you're not. Good luck peddlin' bigotry without bucks in Seneca Falls, schmuck.

You're just just jack mcmuffin or richie tarrant without the bucks or the bentley, bozo, so tell your story walkin' and try your luck getting the folks in Seneca Falls to send your sorry butt to Albany.

Best of luck in all your future endeavors.
What's the problem? Dick Tarrant ran for U.S. Senate and he lives in Florida. Jack McMuffin, er, McMullen moved here to challenge Leahy. This is straight out of the GOP playbook.
The difference is that if you are black and are "recruited" by ACORN you can vote anywhere you want, as many times as you want, and even after you are dead. As long as you vote for "the messiah".
Or if you are homeless and have a park bench for your address, that's ok too.

Wake up, you Barry-bowers. The time is neigh. Life is going to change, change hard and not in the way you think it will. Being liberal and all, you are too soft to stand the kind of life that Barry wants for you.
Ridiculous. And as to taxes being the measure of voting, that went out a long time ago. Voter registration is based upon residence.
Owning property as a requirement for voting hasn't been a legitimate standard for four decades, and that is as it should be. Renters do exist and they do have rights also.
No one should be allowed to run in a state that is not his actual primary residence, ownership of property aside, because property ownership is not the basis for registration.The standard is residence and only residence in the town and state in which one runs.
If you prefer a candidate who came from a state next door as to a candidate from Vermont who works much of the time in a state next door, you have lots of options, so stop your complaining and just vote for one of those.

And for those who feel strongly about where a person works, why not leave the following on your posts: your name, town of residence, how long you have lived in Vermont and what you do for work and state you work in, and perhaps list other good career opportunities are available instead of hiding nonsensical statements behind an alias identity.

FYI, The comment by “Independent Vermonter” seemed reasonable, even though it is not necessarily Vermont law. But I certainly fit his/her definition as I file taxes as a Vermont resident. What else could I do, Vermont is my residence. Thus I bring some money into Vermont, which does no harm to Vermont.

I just prefer not adding to the Vermont taxpayer burden. Most of us native Vermonters were raised to do what is necessary to take care of ourselves. And really working in the state next door is not a sin, at least it did not used to be. Most people on the NH border do the same.
It's not a question of complaining.
Sit's a question of what is legitimate and what is not. If you don't live here you are not qualified to vote here or to run for office here. Run for office in New York or Florida as the case applies. And don't complain that you can't win there therefore you should be allowed to run here. That's your problem.
When, and if, you move back to Vermont, then vote here and/or run for office here. Do you think that an individual who plans to retire to Arizona or Florida at some point in the future would be allowed to vote or run for office in either of those states?
The guy in Franklin County gets to run eventhough he is giving garden tours at his house in Florida so let Mark Shepard run - he is trying to stay in Vermont.
Where you were born has nothing to do with where you vote or where you run for office.
Except for the presidency and Arnold is looking to change that also.
Neither the "Franklin county guy", the corporate business owner from Florida, or "Mark" meet the legal requirements. That's the point
Shut up Shepard. Leave Vermont alone already. Seriously, is it your giant ego driving your last minute campaign or is it just your general neediness? Good luck in New York. Have a blast.
It amazes me that Mark Shepard and his GOP cronies are trying to suppress people from voting rolls while they abuse it.

Then they get on their high horse with their answer to ALL of society's ills - cut taxes!
Shepard needs to talk to the "Franklin County guy" ; he knows how to work it.
Both need to be removed from the ballot.
How many Vermonters who maintain a primary residence here and spend the winter in Florida or elsewhere in the south would be permitted on the ballot there?
At least you are entertaining. Try reading before commenting.

I cannot legally vote in any other state because my residence is in Vermont as it had been for all but maybe five years of my life.

Nor can I come back to Vermont, because I have not left Vermont anymore than when I resided in Hartland and yet most of my work was in NH.

I worked extensively in NY and slept in NY when served in the Vermont Senate.

Does Peter Welch always sleep in Vermont? How about his DC staffers?

What is so difficult to grasp about this? It is just amusing to see such confusion over such a common situation. The world is smaller and work often crosses state lines, if not international lines, most especially when you live in a state with a poor business climate, like Vermont has become in recent years, under the leadership of Peter Welch I might add.

If you really want more Vermonters to have work in Vermont, then stop voting for people like Welch. Put your vote where your comments are. Check out the Vermont Chamber report card for some help.
You list your residence as Vermont, but you actually live in New York.

Where do your kids go to school?
Mark isn't on vacation.

He actually lives in another state.

He rents in New York.

He sleeps in New York every night.

He works in New York every day.

His kids go to school in New York.

He likes Vermont a lot. But he does not live here.
Mark Shepard is a legend in his own mind. Thank God he'll be New York's problem after November 4.

You can legally vote in New York. All you have to do is register there
since you and your family live there.
Problem solved. Also try running for office in the state you actually live in.
The best way to think about "voting residence" is to think about where would you be counted for census purposes. If you would be counted where you currently live, you can vote there legally. If you would not be count at that "residence", you can not vote, legally speaking.
Where do your kids go to school ??
Just read the law. BTW, in a census we would be Vermont. I can only work in New York for the duration of the projects I have. And as a private business owner there are no guarantees of future projects.

BTW: We do not send our children to public schools. My understanding is that Angelo Dorta, president of the Vermont - National Teachers’ Association also does not send his children to the public schools. Wouldn’t it be great if every parent has this option?

Furthermore, where children go to school is no basis of residency. A large number of Vermonters send their children to schools in other states.

Is all of this nonsense just because you do not want to deal with the real issues in Vermont? I really think you have beaten that one to death.

Just so this blog is not a complete wasted effort, why not discuss some real issues. How about starting with these: Why do you think Vermont the fastest aging state in the nation? Why do Vermonters as compared to residents of any other state pay the highest percentage of their income in taxes? Are these both good indicators for Vermont’s future?
Your kids don't go to school here.

You don't live here.

You don't work here.

You spend most of your time in New York.

If you want to run for office, run for office in New York, where you live.

You pretending to be someone who you aren't is a real issue.

It's just not an issue that you like to discuss.
well said.
Shepard thinks the sun shines out his a-hole. Five more days and he will return to being a blip on Vermont's radar screen.
You mean New York's radar screen.
Why do you think Vermont the fastest aging state in the nation?
Mark Shepard said...

"Just read the law. BTW, in a census we would be Vermont. I can only work in New York for the duration of the projects I have. And as a private business owner there are no guarantees of future projects."

That's funny, you didn't list that you're a practicing attorney on your site, Shep.

That's a rather significant oversight on your part.

Harvard or Yale or Bookamatches, Shep?

Nice try, Shep, but you won't need a passport or a visa to remain in greater Seneca Falls, NY once your projects come to a halt. Neither will your kids.

In fact, I'll wager you'll be in an even better position to do so once you and your wife free up some cash after your house in Bennington, Vermont is sold.

That'll certainly help come Christmastime.

New York State was a member of the United States even before Vermont was. It's not Quebec. Your kids will not be mandated to learn to speak French.

Furthermore, you're not living and working in Seneca Falls or DC because you were elected by the people of Vermont to represent us there like Congressman Welch was and will be again, Shep.

You're not stationed there as a member of the US Military. You're not a member of the Peace Corps or Electricians Without Borders.

In fact, Martha Rainville beat you in the semi-finals for the right to lose to Peter Welch.

Evidently, Shep, no matter where you were born, you failed to make a sufficiently convincing case to enough Vermont Voters to win the chance to lose to Peter Welch when you did live here in Vermont.

Just what makes you think that your absence has made the Vermont Voter's Heart grow fonder of you in the past two years?

I'm sorry, Shep. You're going to have to speak up. Seneca Falls is some distance from here in Montpelier.

You know how it is.

I believe in your right to fail, Shep. You've failed. Congrats.

Best of luck in all your future endeavors.
Excuse me: Why do you think Vermont is the fastest aging state in the nation?
What's that got to do with the issue?

You live in New York.

You are running for office and voting in Vermont.

That's wrong.

Register to vote in your home state of New York. What's so hard about that?
Because Vermont is freakin' boring and any kid with a brain wants to see life outside Maybarre.
That's your opinion. I think that Vermont is great but if you don't, you are free to move away.

But don't if you do move away, don't vote here.

Vote in your new home.
Mark Shepard said...

"Excuse me: Why do you think Vermont is the fastest aging state in the nation?"

Because the last six years of life under the doogie/dubie debacle have taken 16 years off our lives, Shep.

Evidently, that's not such a problem in Seneca Falls.

Hopefully, the folks in your new hometown will see that it's not your fault you were born in Vermont, refuse to hold it against you and embrace you as one of their own.

After all, you had no say in where you were born.

You know, the sins of the father and all that.

On the other hand, you did make a calm, calculated, rational, adult decision to move to Seneca Falls to pursue your electrical dreams and fortunes.

By his deeds shall a man be known.

Godspeed, Mark Shepard. Godspeed.
What a laugh! jw criticizing someone wanting to work at a better job to provide for his family. Tell us, jw, what exactly is it that YOU do to provide for your wretched existence? (Aside from your yid-joke blogs)
Mark should work that 'better job'. But since he lives in New York, he should vote in New York. And he shouldn't run for office in Vermont.
Symington for Governor
"Anonymous said... Symington for Governor"

Gaye...you have been busy this morning. I applaude your Communications Director's decision to keep your public statements to short sentences.

If you need a little help injecting some color, feel free to ask Coopy. He has a whole playbook of things you can copy and paste.
Rumor has it that if she wins, Gaye appoints jw as Director of Mental Health, in payment for all of his helpful support.
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