Low voter turnout for Hartford's annual town meeting voting
HARTFORD - Voters easily gave the green light to both the town and school budgets and approved new bond measures during Tuesday's day long balloting which saw a significant dip in voters compared to the turnouts in recent years.
The first, albeit unofficial tally, of votes came less than an hour after the polls closed at 7 p.m. and showed a total of 1,313 ballots had been cast.
"That's a low turnout," noted former Hartford Selectman F. X. Flinn of Quechee. "We've been averaging 1,800 a year and last year's town meeting had over 2,000 voters."
F. X. Flinn signed up new voters using Vermont's new "same day" registration law
One of the likely reasons for the lack of enthusiasm was a dearth of controversial issues or contested races this time around on either the town or the school ballots.
Incumbent selectwoman Becca White appeared to have survived a write-in challenge from candidate Lannie Collins, winning in the first unofficial tally by a margin of 812 to 353 votes.
Candidates did their best last minute campaigning as the sun began to set outside the polls
Incumbent selectman Dick Grassi, was running unopposed, won as expected with a total of 1,069 votes.
The $15 million dollar Hartford town budget passed easily on a vote of 988 to 257.
Voters also overwhelmingly approved a series of technical amendments to the Hartford Town Charter and a Tax Increment Financing bond for improvements to the streetscape in downtown White River Junction by nearly four-to-one margins.
Hartford High School juniors Bethany Perkins and Maya Bolger-Chen helped voters check in
The school budget was approved 814 to 447 and the bond to fix parking lots around the middle and high school campuses made it through with a slightly slimmer margin of 762 to 513.
Incumbent School Director Peter Merrill held onto his seat with 681 votes to his challenger Jeff Arnold's 446 vote challenge.
Long time Board of Civil Authority member Gayle Ottmann kept an eye on the voter checklist
Michelle Boleski ran unopposed and was elected to the open seat on the school board with a total of 836 votes.
Election officials began counting the ballots right after the polls closed for the evening
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