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Registered voters from the Village of Essex Junction recently received a second ballot in the mail. That has created questions for both village residents and those from the rest of the town.

One question is:

Why did village voters receive a second ballot?

It is not a mistake that voters in the Village of Essex Junction received a second ballot in the mail. Upon opening the envelope, they will see that the second ballot is pink in color and has just two questions on it:

“Shall the Village adopt the Plan for Merger of the Town of Essex, Vermont and Village of Essex Junction, Vermont dated September 24, 2020 and the proposed Charter for the merged communities?”

“Shall the Village of Essex Junction adopt its annual budget by Australian ballot?”

The village’s board of trustees finalized their version of a charter for a merged Essex community in September and warned a special election for the two questions at the end of the month. General Election ballots had already been created and sent to voters, so the additional ballot was necessary.

Why is only the village voting on merger now?

Both the entire town of Essex and the Village of Essex Junction need to vote on, and approve, the question of merger for it to go to and be considered by the state’s legislature, proving to the legislature that a majority of both entities want to pursue merger.

“You can’t get to C without A and B,” Unified Manager Evan Teich said.

The Town of Essex Selectboard had been working towards, and hoping to, finish its work on a charter for a merged Essex and have it ready to be voted on by residents this fall at the same time that the village would be voting on its charter. However, the COVID-19 pandemic slowed down efforts, and the selectboard decided to take more time in finalizing its draft before presenting it for a vote.

The town’s merger charter is expected to be finalized in the coming months so that it can be decided on, by all voters in Essex, at the 2021 Annual Town Meeting polls.

Leading up to the election, the Reporter will try to help answer questions that voters may have about what’s on their respective ballots. If you have a question, email it to news@essexreporter.com.

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