Cavendish begins count of mail-in votes

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2020 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Town Manager Brendan McNamara carries the ballots from the vault. Photos by Shawn Cunningham

As announced earlier in October, on Friday, officials of the town of Cavendish counted the mail-in ballots received up to that point in preparation for this Tuesday’s election.

Town Clerk Diane McNamara explained the procedure to Justices of the Peace Rolf Van Schaik and Doris Eddy, who were on hand to help with the work and to observe as required by state law. While Town Manager Brendan McNamara brought the box containing 493 ballots — still in the envelopes they were mailed in — into the meeting room at the town office, Diane McNamara retrieved the optical reader tabulator and installed it on top of the black box into which the ballots drop after being scanned.

Town Clerk Diane McNamara shows that there were no ballots in the machine

Diane McNamara then unlocked the ballot box to show Van Schaik and Eddy that it was empty and explained that she would print a results tape to show that the there were no votes in the machine’s memory. A glitch with the printer was fixed with a couple of phone calls and an adjustment to the paper roll and the process continued.

As Eddy opened the outside envelopes, Van Schaik checked off each voter on the Cavendish voter roll.  After confirming that the inside envelope was properly filled out and signed, Eddy gave the ballot to McNamara who slid it into the scanner and the counter recorded the vote.

McNamara scans ballots as Van Schaik and Eddy process the envelopes

The only other glitch was that some of the ballots — all of which were folded for mailing — were counted but got hung up at the top of ballot box rather than falling down into the chamber below. But McNamara was able to nudge them to drop, and the counting continued.

In-person voting for (and the counting of ballots arriving between Friday and Election Day) will take place at the Proctorsville Fire Station at 513 Main St. from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Nov. 3. Bring the ballot that was mailed to you or use one provided at the polling place. Vermont law allow prospective voters to register on the day of the election.


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