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´╗┐Absentee voting on rise

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they're up over 4,400," she said. "They said that was much higher than they had seen."

Brandon Town Clerk William Dick said he was closing in on the Nike Women Crop Top 2004 total for absentee ballot requests.

This is Thornblade's first general election as clerk of the town with about 2,700 registered voters, but she was in office during the September primary, and in that election she received about a third as many requests, she said.

"You know where a lot of the guys are going to be," she said. "They're going to be at deer camp as of tonight, probably. Some of the women, too."

"The last number I heard in Burlington is Nike Orange Jacket

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"Once people vote, their opinions can't be swayed by and last minute stories that come out," he said.

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Kathy DeWolfe, director of elections for the Vermont Secretary of State's office, said many candidates this year sent out direct mail, including a card voters could return asking candidates to request an absentee ballot on his or her behalf. DeWolfe said she is hearing stories of increased requests around the state.

She also said there probably is a limit to how much growth there can be in absentee voting.

receives 10 or 12.

Waite also pointed out that Election Day falls in early deer season.

"Twenty is the most I think I've ever gotten," she said. "Most of the people who've been here have said they're going to be out of town or their work schedules have changed. I think some people just say they might as well just do it, get it over with."

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"With this election, we've got some good races going on, with Rainville and Welch, and Tarrant and Sanders," he said. "I think that's generating a lot of interest. Basically, I think there are a lot of races that are going on that are meaningful. People see a chance to have a voice, make a meaningful choice.".

"Two years ago we had 247 absentee requests," he said. "I guess we're about neck and neck we have 245. Back in '02 we had 132 absentee ballots."

Absentee ballots are commingled with ballots cast on Election Day and counted at the same time, so a jump in absentee balloting should not affect how long it takes after polls close to determine winners, DeWolfe said.

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Other town clerks in Rutland County told similar stories. West Rutland Town Clerk Jayne Pratt said the increase in absentee ballot requests probably is the result of an effort by both parties to promote early voting.

"I had a little over 50 for town meeting," Thornblade said.

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"There are a certain number of people who just don't like to vote early," she said. "Some people just like going to the polls. I don't think it'll ever get above 30 percent in Vermont."

an effort to bring out our voting base, especially in an off year," said Rutland County Democratic Party Chairwoman Mary Mellow said. "In November it snows, it rains, it sleets. Some people don't want to risk going out and they don't want to miss being able to vote."

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In Pawlet, Town Clerk Joanne Waite said she has received more than 50 requests. In a town with a voter checklist of 800, she said she typically Quality Nike Hoodies

"I've had multitudes and multitudes of absentee ballot requests," the Castleton Town Clerk said Friday morning. "I've got at least 200."

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County Republican Chairman Jonathan Wallace said his party sees a strategic benefit to getting its voters to cast ballots early.

Four days before the general election, votes already were piling up in Katy Thornblade's office.

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