Last-minute voters encountered a last-minute surprise at the polls in Barre Tuesday.
Emergency crews blocked the roads that lead to the city's auditorium where residents expected to cast their votes. A propane leak brought those plans to a halt. "When the gas companies tell you to get everybody out of the there, it's got a potential to explode, I take that seriously," said Barre City Police Chief Tim Bombardier.
"He said the people that are here can obviously vote and leave the hill but we're not letting anybody else up," said Barre City Clerk Carol Dawes.
Dawes called the Secretary of State and began scrambling to find a new location. Within 30 minutes the polls opened again at the Old Labor Hall on Granite St. They turned to old and new media to spread word of the change. "Other press, news outlets like yourself, newspapers, radio, local businesses have come forward," she said.
We met Eric Bachman as he made the short walk between the two locations.
Reporter Kyle Midura: Is this a big inconvenience for you?
Eric Bachman: Not really, we enjoy walking and it's just a little bit more it's not that far away.
Dawes said most people cast votes either early in the morning, at noon or late in the evening. She asked the Secretary of State to allow their polling place to remain open beyond 7 p.m. when state law dictates they close. But Secretary of State Jim Condos said there is no wiggle room and the polls had to close on time. He told WCAX he plans to ask the Legislature if in the future there can be exceptions in extreme circumstances.