Super PAC Mailing Causes Voter Confusion
09/28/12 5:50PM By Bob Kinzel
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The Vermont Town Clerks Association says it's concerned that a new early ballot initiative, organized by a Republican Super PAC, is causing a lot of confusion among voters.
The Super PAC, Vermonters First, says it's just trying to encourage its supporters to vote early during this campaign.
Vermonters First has launched this statewide campaign because it's estimated that as many as 30 p of all Vermont voters will cast their ballots before Election Day.
The Super PAC has sent out a letter to thousands of voters that includes a personalized request form for an early ballot. The mailing also contains an envelope with the local town clerk's name and address on it. Tayt Brooks is the director of the GOP Super PAC.
"We certainly thought it was important to try to connect with folks out there and talk about our main as far as balance goes and also trying to provide them an opportunity and some information on how to vote early."
Brooks won't discuss how many letters were sent out, where the names came from or the cost of the project.
Sandy Pinsonault is the town clerk in Dorset and she's also the head of the Vermont Town Clerks Association. She says members of her organization are getting irate phone calls from some of their constituents.
"I've had several phone calls saying wait a minute why did I get this in the mail we've come to the polls I enjoy going to the polls to vote," said Pinsonault. "And I explain to them just throw it away if you're not interested you don't have to do anything with it disregard the mailing so it does get people confused."
Brooks says the letter containing the early ballot request form is clearly marked Vermonters First so he doesn't understand why the town clerks are concerned.
"I would be surprised to hear that quite frankly and this is a request form and people have an opportunity to sign and then return so it shouldn't really be any questions in regard to it."
Secretary of State Jim Condos thinks lawmakers should take a comprehensive look at how the state's early voting law is being used.
"My predecessor Secretary Markowitz and then me and my office in the last two years have talked with the Legislature about the confusion that's created and about the concerns that we hear during the election season with regard to this and I the Legislature has discussed but has chosen not to take an action on it as yet."
Condos says it's very important for voters to understand that once they have returned a completed early ballot to their local town clerks, they cannot change their mind if an unexpected development occurs in a particular campaign.