Confusion Over Poll Openings Causes Some Winooski Voters to Miss Out | Politics | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice
Pin It

Confusion Over Poll Openings Causes Some Winooski Voters to Miss Out 

Local Matters

Jennifer Ellis and Houda Musanovic
  • Jennifer Ellis and Houda Musanovic

Houda Musanovic of Winooski heard on TV that Vermont polls were opening at 6 a.m. Tuesday. But when she arrived at the Winooski Senior Center at 6:20 a.m., she found the polls closed. Turns out in Winooski, the polls don’t open until 7.

Musanovic wasn’t the only confused wannabe voter — Winooski resident Jennifer Ellis showed up at 6:30 a.m. only to learn she wouldn’t be able to cast her ballot. She, too, had heard on TV that Vermont polls were open early.

Both women said they probably wouldn’t be able to make it back to cast their votes. For Musanovic, a Morocco native who became a U.S. citizen last year, this was going to be her first time voting in a U.S. presidential election. “I was so excited,” she said sadly.

Others who arrived early reported hearing the same thing. Winooski-ite and Democratic political operative Kevin Hayes said he saw a ticker run across the screen on CNN saying Vermont polls were opening at 5 a.m.

Why the confusion? In Vermont, each town decides when to open its polls, so opening times vary widely. Two sites in Bennington open at 5 a.m., for example, and one site in Huntington opens at 6:30. Other polling stations open at 7 or later; many don’t open until 10.

Kathy DeWolfe, Vermont director of elections and campaign finance, admits there is some confusion about poll-opening times. Reached at her desk at 7:45 a.m. on Election Day, DeWolfe said it’s difficult to get the correct information to voters because so many people are tuned in to national media, which isn’t aware of Vermont’s idiosyncratic poll schedule.

And it’s not just the national media that causes confusion. “We have a terrible time with New Hampshire radio,” DeWolfe said. All the polls open at the same time in the Granite State, so Vermonters listening to New Hampshire radio stations might not get the time right.

DeWolfe notes that the correct poll-opening times for each town are posted on the Vermont Secretary of State’s website, and are often available on town websites. Voters can also call their local town offices. “We do everything we can,” she said.

Did you appreciate this story?

Show us your ❤️ by becoming a Seven Days Super Reader.

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

Pin It

More by Cathy Resmer

  • Social Sentinel, Burlington Code Academy and Maureen McElaney Win Awards at 12th Vermont Tech Jam
  • Vermont's Top Innovators Honored at Tech Jam 2018

    Social Sentinel, a Burlington-based company that identifies threatening content on social media, was among the winners of the 2018 Tech Jam awards, presented last Friday at the 12th Vermont Tech Jam. The prizes, given annually by the Vermont Technology Alliance, BTV Ignite and Seven Days, recognize leaders in the state's tech ecosystem. The awards ceremony was the culmination of a busy day at the free career and tech expo organized by Seven Days and presented by Vermont Works. Representatives from more than 50 companies and colleges talked with hundreds of attendees who walked the expo floor. Jeff Couture, executive director of the Vermont Technology Alliance, said he talked with job seekers from across Vermont and outside the state at the event, "including someone, suitcase in hand, who visited from North Carolina."
    • Oct 23, 2018
  • Inspiring Projects to See, Hear and Play With at the Vermont Tech Jam
  • Inspiring Projects to See, Hear and Play With at the Vermont Tech Jam

    • Oct 17, 2018
  • The Tech Issue — 2018
  • The Tech Issue — 2018

    • Oct 17, 2018
  • More »

About The Author

Cathy Resmer

Cathy Resmer

Deputy publisher Cathy Resmer is an organizer of the Vermont Tech Jam, and compiles a weekly tech e-newsletter every Monday. She also oversees HR, helps manage Seven Days' digital staff and oversees its parenting publication, Kids VT. In 2018, she designed and administered a statewide youth civics project, the... more


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Seven Days moderates comments in order to ensure a civil environment. Please treat the comments section as you would a town meeting, dinner party or classroom discussion. In other words, keep commenting classy! Read our guidelines...

Note: Comments are limited to 300 words.

Recent Comments

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2019 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401
Website powered by Foundation