Early Voters, Rest Assured — Burlington Ballots Will Arrive in October | Off Message

Early Voters, Rest Assured — Burlington Ballots Will Arrive in October


Burlington Ward One polling place at Mater Christi School - MARK DAVIS
  • Mark Davis
  • Burlington Ward One polling place at Mater Christi School
Consternation is brewing among some Queen City residents ahead of the November election. Early voting is underway, even though the Burlington ballot remains a work in progress. Just Thursday night, the city council added a controversial question about a significant downtown zoning change. That’s led the civic-minded to worry that those voting by mail won’t get a chance to weigh in on city affairs. 

Not so, says city attorney Eileen Blackwood. 

Burlington has already mailed out the state ballot, which includes candidates for president, statewide office and statehouse seats, because state law requires that those ballots be sent out no later than 45 days before the November 8 election.

The deadline for local-issue ballots isn’t until October 19 — so they’ll be sent out separately. Even if the council weren’t deliberating into late September, Blackwood said the city wouldn’t be able to get its ballots out much earlier than the deadline because it would reduce the time available for petitioners trying to get questions on the ballot. 

After last night, the Burlington ballot has been finalized. There’s plenty on it, including a $22 million tax increment financing request, a $27.5 million capital bond, an $8.4 million bond for water system upgrades, and a question about rerouting the Burlington Bike Path. Blackwood’s office still needs to review the wording of each question before sending it to the printer. She expects the city ballots will go out in the mail a few days prior to the October 19 deadline.

“It’s not at all unusual” to send out the two ballots separately, Blackwood said. But because the state moved up its early voting deadline in an effort to get ballots to voters overseas sooner, the time lag this year is a few days longer. 

And if you’re voting the old-fashioned way, don’t fret — both ballots will be handed out at the polls.

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