From the reporter's notebook:
Plan for the day: to drive from the north side of the state to the south on Route 7, checking in along the way with Vermonters at the polls.
11:15 AM: Before headed north to Swanton to officially start my trip south, I took a slight detour to cast my own vote at Colchester High School.
Inside, about a dozen people were either waiting for ballots or casting their votes. Town Clerk Karen Richard told me that turnout thus far had already surpassed the last primary from two years ago. She said that, by Monday morning, she'd had more than 400 early votes, and the machine where I inserted my ballot read 323. In contrast, she had only 200 voters, total, in the last primary. Richard sent out just one absentee ballot to a service member overseas.
None of the five fellas at the lunch counter had voted yet — nor could they direct me to the nearest polling place. For that, I had to ask the elderly couple seated beside me, who'd just come from voting in Highgate. They'd both cast ballots in the Democratic primary. I asked who'd they voted for in the auditor's race.
"Not Ed Flanagan," the woman told me. "All that stuff in the paper? We need someone who can do the job."
1:10 PM: Just down the road at the Swanton Municipal Complex, Town Clerk Doris Raleigh confirmed that turnout had been heavier than usual — 503 out of a total of 3712 voters in all of Swanton. I asked if the $5 million bond for a water treatment upgrade had affected the turnout.
She laughed. "This is the third time it's come up for a vote," Raleigh said. "Last time only 40 people voted."
Headed south in search of more voters and free WI-FI...