February 2008 Press Releases
Secretary of State Deb Markowitz Discusses Vermont's Presidential
Primary - February 25, 2008
Vermont's Voters May Cast Presidential Primary Vote Using the
Vote-by-Phone Technology at the Polls - February 19, 2008
For Immediate Release:
Vermont’s Voters May Cast Presidential Primary Vote Using the Vote-by-Phone Technology at the Polls
Vermont’s Vote-by-Phone at the Polls option provides privacy and independence to Vermonters with disabilities
Montpelier – This presidential primary every Vermont polling place will be equipped with an option for Vermonters who have difficulties filling out a paper ballot. Using Vote-by-Phone technology, voters who have a hard time marking a paper ballot, especially those who are visually impaired, will be able to use the telephone keypad to mark their presidential primary ballots.
Secretary of State Deb Markowitz said, “In Vermont there are an estimated 83,000 voting age citizens who live with disabilities; 3,000 of them are legally blind. The Vote-by-Phone voting system is accessible and easy to use.”
The Vote-by-Phone system reads the ballot to the voter, who indicates his or her choices by pressing the corresponding numbers on the telephone key pad. The system then generates a paper ballot, scans it and reads it back to the voter so that he or she may verify that the ballot is correct before casting it. Markowitz said, “Any Vermonter who is interested in using Vote-By-Phone at the polls simply tells the election worker they wish to use the system. The election worker will connect the voter to the system and will then pass the handset or headset to the voter who will use the phone to mark his or her ballot privately and independently.” Markowitz added, “Poll workers have been advised that they may not ask whether the voter is disabled, and indeed, any Vermonter may choose to use the telephone voting system.”
Voters with disabilities who choose not to use the Vote-by-Phone (at the polls) voting system have many other choices that are designed to make voting easy and convenient:
· Voters may request that the town clerk send them an early absentee ballot and, once completed, the ballot can be returned by mail or by a person of their choice.
· Voters who are sick or disabled may request that the town clerk send two justices of the peace to deliver a ballot to them on or before Election Day.
· A voter may ask a person of their choice, or may ask two election workers, for assistance in reading and/or marking their ballot.
· A voter who is unable to come into the polling place because of an illness or disability may ask that two election workers bring a ballot out to their car for voting on Election Day.
Any person who wishes to try out the Vote-by-Phone system may practice from their home any time prior to Election Day by calling, toll free, 866-486-3838. Markowitz said, “We encourage voters to try out this new voting system before coming to vote on Election Day because we believe it will ensure that they are comfortable with the system prior to casting their vote.”
For Immediate Release:
of State Deb Markowitz
Secretary of State answers some frequently-asked questions about voting in Vermont’s presidential primary
Montpelier – Vermont’s presidential primary is right around the corner and Secretary of State Deb Markowitz offers answers to some frequently-asked questions about ballots and procedures. “The Secretary of State’s Office fields dozens of questions every day. We believe that informing voters as early as possible helps make elections run more smoothly,” said Markowitz.
The deadline to register to vote for the March 4th presidential primary is 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 27. Citizens can register at their town clerk’s office. “All town clerks’ offices must be open between 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 27, to register voters,” says Markowitz.
Vermont’s polls will open between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. on March 4. Voters should contact their local town clerk to find out the exact opening time in their town. All polls must remain open until 7:00 p.m.
Voters will choose one party’s presidential primary ballot, and it is public record which ballot they choose. This is because the legislature and political parties agreed that instead of requiring voters to register with a party, voters would have to publicly disclose which party ballot they are voting in order for the Vermont primary to count toward the party’s delegate selection process.
This year, Vermont’s presidential primary ballots will include the names of some candidates who have withdrawn from the race, including John Edwards, Rudy Giuliani, Dennis Kucinich, and Mitt Romney. This is because these candidates did not ask to withdraw their names from Vermont’s ballot. “Votes for these candidates will count,” Secretary Markowitz says. “The political parties get to decide how to treat these votes when it comes to assigning delegates.”
The Secretary of State’s Office has implemented a Vote-By-Phone at the Polls system to assist people who may have difficulty marking a paper ballot. The system reads the ballot to the voter who indicates his or her choices by pressing the corresponding numbers on the telephone key pad. Voters may practice from home by calling 1-866-486-3838. “Any Vermonter who is interested in using Vote-By-Phone at the Polls to cast a presidential primary ballot simply informs the election worker upon arriving at the voting location,” says Markowitz. “This system allows the voter to mark his or her ballot privately and independently.”
Anyone who has questions about voting in Vermont can contact the Secretary of State’s Office at 1-800-439-8683 or visit the website at www.sec.state.vt.us.