by Becky Hapgood
China Town Clerk
Welcome to 2020! The year of everything being different than what we are accustomed. On July 14, the town of China has a major election not because of the size but because of what you will be voting on and how things surrounding the election have changed.
First, if you are 17 and will turn 18 on or before the November 3 election, and you are enrolled in a party, you can vote. You will only receive a state candidate ballot.
If you are over 18 and, in a party, you will receive a candidate ballot, state referendum ballot, two RSU ballots (budget and revolving renovation fund) and two town of China ballots containing the municipal budget. If you are unenrolled, you would receive all ballots except for the candidate ballot.
Because China requires a quorum of 118 voters to hold an open meeting, we could not convene our annual town business meeting and follow the CDC guidelines. We were forced to go to a written ballot vote to approve the town’s budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year.
I expect if a voter receives all ballots, it will take the voter up to 10 minutes in the voting booth. We sent out a mailer earlier to help the voters see the municipal ballot questions before they enter the voting booth. We will also be posting all sample ballots to our website under elections as soon as they are received.
Please note the Lakeview Drive entrance will again be closed to traffic. We kindly request you access the municipal complex from the road off the Alder Park Road. We will have signs to remind everyone where the entrance is located. I expect long lines while the polls are open. To avoid the lines, you are welcome to request an absentee ballot up to and including Election Day. This is a change to election law for this election due to the pandemic.
We cannot plan for the weather, but we will have a 20-foot x 40-foot tent in case of rain or heat. You will notice that we will have to adjust how we wait to enter the voting area. We will be limiting the number of voters in the building to maintain the 6-foot physical distance between persons. Everything in the polling place from the booths to the voting machines must be set up as to maintain the 6-foot social distancing. Voters are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings but cannot be turned away from voting for not doing so. If you cannot stand for a long period of time, you should request an absentee ballot.
The absentee ballot request process is very easy. You can go online to www.china.govoffice.com under the Election tab, you can call the office (207) 445-2014 to request a ballot or you can stop by the office and pick one up for you and/or an immediate family member. Ballots must be received by 8 p.m. on Election night. No reason is required to vote absentee. Once you receive the ballots, you vote and then seal all ballots in the envelope provided. Please make sure to sign on the return ballot envelope where highlighted. The ballots can then be returned by mail or dropped off at the town office by the voter or the voter’s immediate family. We are working on a secure drop box for ballots but as of this writing, we have not found one that meets the criteria set forth by the state.
If you have any questions leading up to the election, please reach out. We have provided background information for the town’s budget vote on www.china.govoffice.com under the Elections tab. Sample ballots will also be posted as soon as they are available.
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