HARTFORD DREAM BALLOT
Voters weigh in on wishes for next time
Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump were flawed candidates in the eyes of their own supporters. Democrat Hartford voters filled in the oval next to Mrs. Clinton's name with one hand while simultaneously holding their noses with the other. Mr. Trump's voters first admittance of support wasn't until they were safely behind the red, white and blue curtains of the polling stations. The general election did not provide what many voters seek in a presidential candidate. Will the town and school ballots come March prove more satisfying?
In 2016, there were 18 articles which voters had to decide on the town ballot, and three on the school ballot. They ranged in expenditures of over $35 million for the school budget, to a $600 appropriation for maintenance of the Christian Street cemetery. The 2017 ballot will feature similar requests for expenditures. But polled Hartford voters, when given the opportunity to magically land their own initiative on the spring ballot, responded broadly with their own concerns about the town. A sampling of the responses relaying what they would like addressed by the five villages' voters:
"Do you allocate funding for a track at Hartford High School?" (appeared multiple times)
"There seems to be a rise in crime in Hartford - most recently that I have heard of along Route 14. Would it be worthwhile to implement a Neighborhood Watch / Crime Watch? Since this is an 'organized' citizen group, guidelines would have to be developed. (What comes to mind is when a neighborhood watch member shot a teenager in a hoodie - this is not what I'm proposing.)"
"Should voting be switched to the second Saturday in November?"
"Should it be legal to demolish eyesores that have festered for well over a decade, like that falling apart shitbox that squats smack in the middle of Hartford Village and obstructs visibility when you try to turn left onto Route 14?"
"Should Hartford High School student athletes be drug tested randomly while playing a sport he/she participates in during the season?"
"It would be something to address the quality of life and affordability for senior citizens in both Hartford and Vermont."
"Should the Hartford School District adopt a merit based pay policy for teachers?"
To get an article on the ballot, according to the Vermont Secretary of State, one may ask the school board or select board on their own motion to do so. Alternatively, a petition signed by 5% of registered Hartford voters and submitted 47 days prior to voting day also gets your initiative on the ballot.
So Hartford dreamers and petitioners take note: there were 4,750 active Hartford voters in last Tuesday's presidential election, and town voting takes place March 7, 2017. You have 115 days.
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