On Friday at the end of election week, the Shelburne Town clerk was still getting a few ballots.
Diana Vachon said it was a shame, but she couldn’t count ballots that came in the mail after Tuesday’s election.
Otherwise, the election went very well in Shelburne, Vachon said, “Shelburne loves to vote.”
They registered about 20, mainly younger, voters that day. This was less than the 25-30 voters they registered in August on the day of the primary election.
The last voter on Election Day showed up at 6:58 p.m. on Tuesday evening, just minutes before the polls closed.
Vachon said that person also needed to register to vote.
She said no one objected to wearing a mask for in-person voting this election.
Two people had refused to wear masks during primary voting. Vachon had to figure out a way to have them vote without getting close to the other masked voters.
This year at least, Shelburne also loves volunteering to help with voting.
Vachon’s appeal for voting help attracted around 100 volunteers, lots of them young.
She even had a couple of volunteers from other towns ask to help with voting in Shelburne because their towns were already filled with volunteers.
Vachon couldn’t let them help in Shelburne.
“I was also full,” she said.
Although poll workers get a small stipend, she said she doesn’t think that’s why people volunteered.
“These people are coming forward just because they wanted to help. There’s been a lot of anxiety and fear around the pandemic,” she said.
Many of the volunteers were worried many of the older people who’ve helped in past elections were not going to help this time because of their increased risk of coronavirus.
Helping with an election doesn’t just mean showing up on Election Day. Before the big day, the volunteers came in small groups of 16 or less and met socially distanced for orientation in what the duties entail.
And the work began before Election Day. Vachon had volunteers who came on Thursday mornings during October to help run votes through the tabulator that had come in during the prior week. After the tabulator was run, they would compare the results to see if it matched the hard ballots in the vault.
At least eight volunteers showed up to help put up plexiglass dividers and otherwise set up for the town hall for early and same-day voting.
Vachon said volunteering as poll workers helps the workers appreciate and understand what the vote means.
“But it was especially important this year with COVID and 76 percent of the votes coming before Election Day,” Vachon said.