Voting & Elections
Everything you need to know about voting in Barnard
In Vermont, all elections are administered at the municipal level. In Barnard, all town, school district, state, and national elections take place in the Town Hall. Information about the various elections, and about registering to vote and confirming your voter registration is below.
Town Meeting, as many in Vermont often say, is “democracy being practiced in its purest form.” It is the day when all the legal voters of a town have an opportunity to gather, voice their opinions and concerns, vote on town and school budgets, and elect town officials.
In Barnard, Town Meeting is always held on the first Tuesday of March, commonly referred to as Town Meeting Day. (Vermont law dictates that Town Meeting must be held on the first Tuesday in March, or any of the three preceding days if voters so decide.)
There are a number of items required by Vermont state statute that a town must vote on at Town Meeting. They include: electing municipal officers, approving the budget, authorization of long-term capital borrowing, collecting taxes, and deciding whether or not the town will operate on a fiscal or a calendar year.
A town can choose in many cases, but not all, to vote on issues by Australian ballot (pre-printed, paper ballots), rather than from the floor of Town Meeting.
In order to vote on an issue at Town Meeting, the articles must be properly “warned” prior to the meeting. In Barnard, these warnings are typically posted at the Town Office, the Post Office, the Barnard General Store, and the East Barnard Community Hall.
Each year, the town shall elect a moderator, whose job it is to “decide questions of order and shall make public declaration of votes taken, except in elections using the Australian ballot system.”
For many years, Paul Doton has served as Town Moderator.
At town meeting, the moderator follows the Roberts Rules of Order, a formal procedure that is required by state law. At Barnard Town Meeting, while electing town officers you will hear reference to the “Magic Motion.” When there is a single candidate for a an office, voters can ask the Town Clerk, through the “Magic Motion,” to cast a single ballot for the candidate. This saves time at the meeting.
To learn more about how Town Meeting works in Vermont, and here in Barnard, see this illustrated Town Meeting Day primer by former Vermont Secretary of State Deborah Markowitz and Kids Vote Vermont, or this more recent Citizen’s Guide to Town Meeting.
The Presidential Primary Election occurs on Town Meeting Day every four years. There is no party registration in Vermont, and all registered voters can vote in Presidential primary elections, but only on one party’s ballot.
More information about the Presidential Primary election can be found on the Secretary of State’s website.
Primary Elections for offices are held on the second Tuesday in August in each even numbered year for the nomination of candidates of major political parties for all offices to be voted for at the succeeding general election (except candidates for president and vice president of the United States, which occurs on Town Meeting Day).
The General Election is held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, in even numbered years, and every four years for Presidential Elections.
Polling Time and Place
On Town Meeting Day, Primary Election Day, and General Election Day, the polls are open in Barnard from 10am to 7pm.
The polling location is in the Town Hall, at 115 North Road.
Online voter registration is available at the Vermont Secretary of State Web Site, home of the new Elections Management Platform.
This platform has three main components:
- The Elections Management System (EMS) includes a new statewide voter checklist and other resources and tools to be used by town and city clerks across Vermont to conduct all of their election related business – from registering voters, to processing absentee ballot requests, to entering election results;
- The Online Voter Registration Tool allows all eligible Vermonters to submit their voter registration application online anytime and anywhere they can access the internet; and
- The My Voter Page is an online resource that allows every registered voter to login and access a unique, voter-specific web page where they can request an absentee ballot, track its status, update their voter registration record, find their polling place, view a sample ballot, and much more.
The goal of the Elections Management Platform is to increase engagement with the electoral process across the state and make it easier than ever for all eligible Vermonters to participate in our elections.
Absentee ballots are available for any election or issue that is decided by the voting residents of the town by a warned balloted vote. Votes that are taken “from the floor” at Town Meeting cannot be voted by absentee ballot.
To receive an Absentee Ballot in Barnard, access the Online Voter Registration Tool or My Voter Page above, or contact:
Diane Rainey, Town Clerk,
PO Box 274, Barnard VT 05031-0274
802-234-9211 x 1