Interest in early voting is very high is several parts of the state. In some communities it’s expected that as many as a third of all voters will cast their ballot before Election Day.
As candidates crisscross the state and air new TV ads in this final week of the campaign, a large chunk of voters won’t be influenced by these last minute developments. That’s because they’ve already voted.
"We’ve been right out straight with early voters. People seem to want to vote early for this election," said Annette Cappy, the Town Clerk in Brattleboro. "We spend most of our days just dealing with early voters it’s been wonderful. I think we’re averaging close to 100 voters a day."
And Cappy said there’s a fair amount of work involved in the early voting system.
"There’s a lot that needs to be done to track that ballot as it goes out and when it comes back but I think you’ll find every Town Clerk will say it’s a good thing, it encourages more people to vote early, they vote at their leisure and that’s what we’re here for," said Cappy.
Henry Heck is the City Clerk in Rutland. He said there’s a lot of interest in early voting and he expects it to grow in the years to come.
"In the future I believe that absentee ballots will probably be more of a requested item, it is a little bit more convenient once people feel comfortable with the process and how it works," said Heck.
Several weeks ago, a Republican Super PAC known as Vermonters First sent out early voting ballot requests to thousands of people. Some town clerks reported that a number of voters were very upset because they never requested the early ballot form. Heck said the Vermonters First initiative has had an impact.
"There’s no question that that group has driven the absentee requests this year," said Heck.
It was easy for Montpelier City Clerk John Odum to track the Vermonters First early voting ballots because they misspelled his name on the return envelope.
"It was clearly a very effective mailer," said Odum. "Now I did hear reports from several people stopping in that they received that and they weren’t necessarily sympathetic with the view of Vermonters First but were going to use their form anyway."
And Odum said there’s no doubt that early voting is here to stay.
"It’s clearly embraced by the voters, it’s embraced by the community," he said. "I think it puts a lot of burden on clerks’ offices but you know we’re up to it."
Town Clerks say it’s important for voters to realize that once they cast an early ballot, they cannot ask for another ballot if they change their mind about a specific race.