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



Douglas: Dems using law as cover to move primary

Gov. Jim Douglas said today that he thinks Democrats are using a new federal law as an excuse to move Vermont's 2010 primary to an earlier date.

Speaking at his news conference this afternoon, Douglas, a Republican, said the Secretary of State's Office should seek a waiver from a new federal law. That law requires general election ballots to be sent out at least 45 days before the election, which would be virtually impossible to do with a Sept. 14 primary and Nov. 2 general election.

The law is meant to ensure that overseas voters, particularly those in the military, have enough time to vote.

Douglas said the state should put into place other means of getting allowing overseas votes to count, including allowing more time after the election for them to come in and be tallied. "We ought to look for other ways to accelerate the process," said Douglas, himself a former secretary of state.

Secretary of State Deb Markowitz has said she plans to ask the Legislature to move the primary up when it reconvenes in January. Markowitz has been urging an earlier primary for years and the Senate agreed to move it to late-August last year in a bill that is pending in the House. If the Legislature doesn't act (or I suppose if the governor vetoes a bill), Markowitz said she'd seek a waiver.

Markowitz happens to be running in a crowded Democratic primary field for governor.

Douglas said he believes Democrats want to move the primary simply to give their eventual candidate more time to recoup before the general election, and are using the new law as cover. None of the other primary dates are good options, he said, arguing that anytime earlier would create a longer election season and an August primary would dampen voter involvement.

- Terri Hallenbeck

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The "LAW" as "COVER". That's rich.
All sides are self serving.

Douglas takes a position that helps his team.

The Dems take a position that helps their team.

Nobody is being 100% honest.
Anonymous said...
All sides are self serving.

Douglas takes a position that helps his team.

The Dems take a position that helps their team.

Nobody is being 100% honest.

You completely miss the point on this one. The US Congress passed a LAW mandating the change. Yes, it may have a secondary beneficial effect for the dems but it has nothing to do with honesty. The LAW can not be honest or deceitful. Plain and simple on this one, follow the LAW.
I hope Douglas will follow the federal law which was intended to ensure that overseas service members have the chance to vote and to have their votes counted on election day.
Ummmm note to the last two posters: get a calendar. There are already more than 45 days between the dates of Vermont's CURRENT primary date and the general election date . . . but the Sec of State says they can't get the ballots printed and turned around fast enough.

That's what they mean by "virtually impossible" . . . not entirely impossible, just too difficult!
Don't be so arrogant - the law says you have to provide 45 days for the mailing out and receiving back the overseas ballots.

It doesn't say that there must be 45 days between the primary and general election.

And every voting district in VT has to have a ballot - albeit a different ballot in each one - there are over 100 districts.

Each of the more than 100 voting districts must be written up and once completed must be proofread and confirmed as correct BEFORE they go to the printer.

Then once the printer typsets they must be proofed and approved AGAIN before they are printed.

Then they must be delivered to each of the voting districts for mailing to overseas locations.

If you think this can be done in less than 4 days - you are dreaming.
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