Markowitz opposes major voting restructuring

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(Host) Secretary of State Deb Markowitz says she opposes the recommendation of a national organization of election officials that calls for a major restructuring in the way people vote.

The National Election Center, based in Houston, wants to eliminate local voting districts and replace them with regional voting centers that would be open for a month before an election.

Under the plan, large voting centers would be established in every county and located in areas that are convenient to voters – such as hotel ballrooms or civic centers.

The state of Colorado has given its approval to a pilot plan to replace 143 local voting districts with twenty regional centers.

Markowitz notes that Vermont is one of the few states that organizes elections around individual towns. And she thinks it would be a mistake to change this system.

(Markowitz) “One of the reasons why we really don’t face the problems that other larger states have when it comes to voter fraud or problems at the polls on election day with long lines and people being purged from the list who shouldn’t be purged, is that we do run our elections locally. I think you’d lose that if you went to a regionalized election.”

(Host) The new national report also calls for an expansion of early voting programs. Markowitz says Vermont already has this system in place because voters can cast their ballots within thirty days of an election.

Markowitz says roughly twenty percent of all Vermont voters used the early voting system in the 2004 elections.

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