Tuesday, August 26, 2008


OWEN MULLIGAN, elected last March as the new Ward Clerk in Burlington's Ward 6, has made some changes in his oversight and running of the polling station at Edmunds Middle School.

First off, he placed an invitation in the Front Porch Forum to Ward 6 residents to become assistant election workers. Owen told me today that the response has been overwhelming. People actually want to help out on the September 9th Primary and at the General Election on November 4.

It's fairer and more democratic to have election workers from all the different political parties in Burlington. (Indeed, the workers are required to be non-partisan and, under the supervision of the ward clerk, to make sure the election process in Ward 6 runs smoothly and fairly.)

Already - in the spirit of openness and fair-play (actually it's required, too) - Owen tells me there will be a Libertarian, Burlilngton Green, Democrat, Progressive, Republican and Independent on the rota for working both days. I don't think there's ever been an effort like this on the part of a ward clerk to invite this much diversity in election workers.

And, another first: a 16 year old student will be working as an election worker! The young man wanted to help out. Owen checked with the city clerk's office and the city attorney checked the statute.
Subject: Re: age limit for election workers
The BCA can appoint a resident of a voting district who is 16 or 17 to
serve as an AEO. The youth has all the same duties as an adult AEO but
must work under the "direct supervision" of an adult election official.
See 17 VSA s. 2454 (b).
Pretty neat, huh?

There will be some good changes on the outside of the polling place. Back in 2006, Sanders and Tarrant bombarded the lawn, greenspace, and street entrances to Edmunds (and other ward polling places) with hundreds of campaign signs. It's not only unfair to other candidates, but it's a ridiculous use of paper. Plus, it creates a sea of campaign posters that just register as a a mass of campaign colors.

So this year in Ward 6 candidates will be limited to just 4 signs each in the ground outside of Edmunds. Campaign workers can hold as many signs as they want, but they'll be limited to a cordoned-off area - strictly marked and designated - to allow voter access to the path up to the entrance of the school's gym. Meet and greet the voters, but don't hinder their access and right to vote. Good idea!

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