WATCH: “Drive-Thru Voting Given Thumbs Up in Vernon” (NBC CT)

April 30, 2020

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From NBC Connecticut

On a beautiful evening in Vernon, cars lined up so people could weigh in on the town’s proposed 2020-2021 budget.

“I think it’s really different but I think it’s creative and it’s good to see the public still has input,” said Anne Fischer of Vernon.

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, drive-thru voting was offered, as well as a virtual public hearing.

Voters could pull up to a station outside Rockville High School, show their ID and then give a thumbs up or thumbs down to the $94 million budget.

People who walked up could also take part.

“It’s important because of democracy,” said Mayor Dan Champagne (R).

Champagne said the town wanted people to still have their say even if the governor has suspended some in-person voting requirements because of the coronavirus.

In fact, they used a similar setup for a different issue back in March.

“The night we had it up in Rockville it was a lot quicker than the old polling booths,” said Gordon Gibson of Vernon.

The mayor said in a typical year about 40-80 people show up for the budget vote.

This time more than 100 expressed their civic right.

“I think it’s important for a person to go out and vote. Once you take that away I think people get more offended, even if they weren’t going to vote, that you took their right away,” said Mayor Champagne.

This budget was a small increase over the current one and there was no change to the single mill rate.

It passed 106 to four.