Thank you, South Burlington Voters!

Thank you, South Burlington Voters!

Thanks to everyone who voted in this past August 9th State Primary Election.  This election was different for us in many ways with redistricting and obtaining a new shared district. With the census taking place in 2020 and South Burlington’s population increasing over the last 10 years, meant that we gained a new shared district, but it also meant that our district boundary lines changed.  South Burlington’s Board of Civil Authority, working with our state representatives and S. Burlington senators, made recommendations to the state reapportionment board but the final decision was theirs.  We implored them to keep the boundaries as close to the prior boundaries as possible to limit the number of people whose district would change. For the most part, they did.  As a result of this reapportionment, we heard a few questions on election day and I wish to address them. 

Why wasn’t I notified that my polling location changed?

As much as I wish we could have sent everyone who changed districts a letter, unfortunately we were unable to do so easily. The required voter software that we are mandated to use provided by the Secretary of State’s office, does not have the ability to compare prior district and the new district and give out the names of those who changed.  To do this by hand would mean weeks of going one by one through the 16,000+ voters in South Burlington to determine who has a new polling location.  If you look closely at the boundaries, new and old, you will notice that opposite sides of the street can vote in different locations and some streets even have 3 different polling locations depending on where you live on that street.  So, we posted on Front Porch Forum several times, updated the Clerk’s webpage, the Other Paper, as well as the City News publication. 

Why is CHI-8 not at the middle school

I, along with some BCA members, discussed how we wanted to proceed in deciding the criteria of what district votes where.  The most important criteria was to make sure that the placement by district into new district polling locations impacted the least amount of people.   We wanted as many voters as we could to keep their same polling locations.  The second thing we considered was size of the polling areas. We considered placing the new district at the middle school, which already holds 2 districts but placing the new district in the cafeteria.  However, November elections can occur on days in which there is school, and the cafeteria is in use throughout the day, so it took that option out of consideration.  That left us needing find a location for the 5th district.

Why City Hall?

I know that there was some confusion about why City Hall was the polling location when it sits within another district’s boundaries.  This new district, CHI-8 resides in a section of the Southeast Quadrant which does not have a meeting space large enough to accommodate the 2,600+ registered voters on election day.  So, we looked for what meeting spaces were available, and the 2 remaining buildings were either City Hall or Central School, which reside next to each other.  The high school was considered but found to be to difficult for voters to access the gym with the 2 sets of stairs from the lobby to the gym.  After failing to connect with the school district, that left City Hall as the best option.  We considered moving another district there but again it displaced more voters, and the Senior Center at City Hall is the smallest of the polling areas by square footage. With CHI-8 being the smallest district, it made sense to place it at City Hall.

I am sorry to anyone that was inconvenienced if they showed up at the wrong polling location on August 9th.  As always, if you have any question, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.

Donna Kinville
South Burlington City Clerk
180 Market St
South Burlington, VT  05403, MMC& CVC