A brief glance at the comments on the Banner's Facebook page and online feedback to our articles or letters to the editor will illustrate that our readers are not afraid to stand up for what they believe in. You, electronically or by hand- or type-written correspondence, and sometimes by phone call or voicemail, are not shy to complain, shout and scream in all caps what you like or dislike or want to change about the town, local government, the issue of the day, or what have you.
And that passionate response is (generally) a wonderful thing.
So why are so few predicted to have a voice in Tuesday's Primary election?
In Bennington, the house races seem to be where the attention is in this election. For state representative, in Bennington District 2-1, Timothy R. Corcoran II, Rachael Fields and Jackie Kelley are seeking two Democratic nominations. In District 2-2, Jim Carroll, Joann Erenhouse, Kiah Morris and Brandy Reynolds are competing for two nominations.
Several candidates are also making a bid for the governor's office, including H. Brooke Paige and incumbent Gov. Peter Shumlin seeking the Democratic nomination; and Republicans Steve Berry, Scott Milne and Emily Peyton seeking a nomination. All these candidates have made the obligatory visits to Southern Vermont over the last few weeks, so you may have gotten to know them in our pages. There is also a three-way primary for the Republican nomination for the U.S. House.
According to an Associated Press report, two write-in campaigns for statewide office have generated some interest. You can always write-in a candidate if you don't like who's already on the ballot.
Do a search for any of the candidates on the Banner's website and you will find background for those races.
Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Dan Feliciano wants voters to write-in his name on the Republican ballot and Progressive Lt. Gov. candidate Dean Corren is seeking a write-in on the Democratic ballot.
In other races, several are running unopposed for nominations, including Rep. Peter Welch, running again for congress, and Jim Condos, who is seeking another term as Secretary of State.
After today, there's the general election on Nov. 4. Some will say that's the only election that counts. Others will say if it's not a presidential election year, why bother? The reason you should make the effort is, the primary is where you get to choose who will advance to general election. It's your turn to be in on the decision, from the get-go, as to how this town and this state are going to be governed for the coming years.
The voting itself is a simple thing: If you're a resident of Bennington's 2-1 or 2-2, your polling place is the Bennington Fire Facility, open today from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. -- a 12-hour span that will accommodate most peoples' work or school schedule. After signing in, it takes just a few minutes to color in the circles on the ballot. After you turn in your ballot, a nice volunteer will probably offer you free doughnuts and coffee.
The North Bennington pollsite is the Trustee's Office, starting at 7 a.m.
In Arlington, vote at the high school beginning at 10 a.m.
In Pownal, go to the Pownal Center Firehouse starting at 7 a.m. to vote.
Shaftsbury residents may vote at Buck Hill Road Firehouse beginning at 7 a.m.
Your pollsite may not be listed here. To see a full list, visit www.sec.state.vt.us/elections.aspx
All polls in Vermont close at 7 p.m.
Following a recent special election I sat down with my complimentary cup of coffee after casting my vote and met a couple of nice longtime Bennington residents -- a retired Bennington College professor and his wife, who read the Banner and had an interest in the reporting we do and the staff we employ. Getting to know them over coffee was fun -- I always learn new things about Bennington when talking to residents. So there's another positive of voting in the primary: You can even make friends at the pollsite!
Doughnuts and camaraderie aside, the voter turnout in Vermont today is expected to be low.
But that doesn't have to be the case. Let your voice be heard.