Twist and Shout

Twist and Shout
Life is never straight (Joey Kulkin photo)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Vignettes from Vermont: Election Day '12 in Bennington

Bennington opened its voting kiosk at 5 a.m. (Joey Kulkin photo)

BENNINGTON -- Benningtonians don't trust Mitt Romney to run the White House.

"He didn't tell the truth and told people whatever they wanted to hear. He pandered, that's what he did," Bennington poll worker Jim Carroll said at 7:30 this morning as he watched large electronic boxes swallow voters' ballot sheets. "I think he's not fit."

Cheryl Harrington of Bennington voted Obama because Romney, she said, "Never said exactly what he was going to do. He kept repeating his 5-point plan but never said what that plan was going to be."

As for Obama's first four years, Harrington said "He kept trying to do things, but Congress kept voting him down and you can't do everything in four years that you set out to do."

Terry Volz of Bennington voted Obama because Romney, he said, "Doesn't know what's going on. He wants to go back to deregulation, which got us into the problem we're in."

From 1928 to 1992, Vermont voted Republican every time except for 1964, when the state went with LBJ by a whopping 66.3 percent over Goldwater.

Bill Clinton flipped Vermont in '92, and the Green Mountain State has voted blue ever since.

America's second-smallest state, with more women than men (50.8 percent to 49.2), not only has voted blue for 20 years -- but by an average of about 19 points, too.

It began with Bubba in '92 (46.11 to 30.42 over Bush and Perot) and continued with Clinton again (53.35 to 31.09 over Dole), Al Gore in 2000 (50.62 to 40.70 over Bush Jr.), John Kerry in '04 (58.94 to 38.80 over Bush Jr.) and Barack Obama in '08 (67.46 to 30.45 over McCain).

And Bennington is so blue (65.47 percent for Obama in '08) ...

... that the Vermont Republican Party didn't even open a kiosk in town this election.

Interesting tidbit about George W. Bush after he became the 43rd president without the help of Vermont: Vermont is the only state he did not visit during his two terms.

Vermonters might deliver Obama over Romney by an LBJ margin. They feel 44th president did a strong enough job during his first go-round despite partisan politics and needs another term to see his policies through.

And, well, Mitt Romney isn't the fella they want in the seat of power.

Daniel Harrington of Bennington, who served in the Navy from 1948 to 1968, said he trusts Obama and not Romney because "He doesn't want to tell people where he's got all of his money stashed. He didn't know what he was talking about half the time and would have to excuse himself and come back and say, Well I'm sorry about this and I really meant to say this -- and just a lot of crap."

Harrington said that killing Osama bin Laden was one of Obama's top accomplishments. He also said Obama should make the economy his top priority should he win again.

"A lot of people are hurting," Harrington said as he held a Styrofoam cup half-full with coffee. "I don't care because I'm retired, but a lot of people are out of work and they're not having an easy time of it."

Cheryl Harrington had an easy time explaining why Mitt didn't get her vote.

"I don't trust him," she said. "I think he's shady."

Bennington County Clerk Tim Corcoran said the fire house polling station opened at 5 o'clock and that 122 residents voted in the first hour. He expects a large turnout till closing time.

Bennington has Vermont's third largest population with just under 16,000 residents.

Here are photos from the polling station between 7 and 7:45. Below them are exit videos.

Cheryl Harrington

Bennington knows how to treat voters right.

Poll worker Jim Carroll, also a Bennington Selector

Bennington County Clerk Tim Corcoran (right) talks to a voter