No one should have to choose between staying safe and exercising their right to vote.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, VPIRG and our allies have been fighting to ensure that every eligible voter in Vermont has the option to vote safely and easily by mail this year. Now, thanks to the hard work and dedication of the Vermont Secretary of State and VPIRG’s staff, allies, and supporters around the state, we’ve achieved a major win: every registered Vermont voter will receive their ballot by mail for the November election.
How did we get here?
Back at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Vermont legislators passed a measure empowering Governor Phil Scott and Secretary of State Jim Condos to enact a vote-by-mail system this year without additional legislation. The Secretary of State came up with a plan to mail every registered Vermont voter a ballot for the general election in November, but when the governor proved reluctant to get on board, the issue moved back to the legislature.
S.348, a bill granting full authority to the Secretary of State to mail all registered voters a ballot for this year’s General Election in November, was met with strong support, passing the Senate on a 21-7 vote and the House 115-29. Ultimately, on July 3rd, Governor Scott allowed S.348 to pass into law without his signature, ensuring that every registered Vermont voter will receive their ballot by mail for the November election.
What does vote-by-mail mean for you?
First, it’s important to note that S.348 only applies to the November general election, not the August 11th primary. If you’d like to vote by mail for the August primary, you need to request an absentee ballot, which can be done quickly and easily online through the Secretary of State’s “My Voter Page” portal, accessible at mvp.vermont.gov. The Secretary of State has also sent out absentee ballot request postcards to registered voters. You may have received this already – and you can also use that postcard to request a mail ballot for the primary. Early voting for the August primary has already begun, so there’s no time to waste!
For the November general election, your absentee ballot will be mailed to you automatically. To ensure that your ballot reaches you, please visit mvp.vermont.gov to confirm your voter registration status and mailing address.
Finally, while we strongly encourage mail-in voting as the best way to protect your health, as well as the health of poll workers and your fellow Vermonters, we recognize that that may not be the best option for everyone. If you’d prefer to vote in person, that option will still be available for both the August primary and the November general election. You can visit mvp.vermont.gov to confirm your voter registration status and local polling place and don’t forget to mark your calendar for the August and November elections!
Are you ready to be part of the movement?
Vote-By-Mail Myths, Busted:
Despite what you may have heard from the president, claims of fraud associated with voting by mail are rare.
Five states have already successfully adopted vote-by-mail systems that have proven effective. In fact, states with some of the highest voter participation, especially in typically low-turnout primary contests, tend to be vote-by-mail states.
In addition, there is plenty of analysis shows that no political party is exclusively benefited by vote-by-mail. This despite the fact that President Trump admitted on Fox News his fear that “if you ever agreed to it [mail-in voting] you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.” It’s just not true.
But it is clear who would benefit from a vote-by-mail system in this pandemic: Vermont voters and poll workers.
Make Sure You’re Ready to Vote in 2020:
No matter what decision is made about how elections will be administered in Vermont in 2020, it is critical that your voter registration and mailing address are up to date.
The My Voter Page on the Vermont Secretary of State website can be used to:
- Check your voter registration status
- Update your voter registration
- Request absentee ballots
- Check on your absentee ballot status
- Find your polling place location, view a sample ballot, look up who your elected officials are, and more!
News & Updates
On Friday, Governor Phil Scott allowed S.348 to become law without his signature. This law grants full authority to the Secretary of State to mail all registered voters a ballot for this year’s General Election in November. This law finally makes it possible for Vermont to move forward with a vote-by-mail system, which is the ...Read More
The team here at VPIRG is excited to send a massive “THANK YOU” to the 115 members of the Vermont House of Representatives who took a stand today to ensure that no Vermonter has to choose between their safety and their right to vote this year. Late this afternoon, the Vermont House of Representatives gave its ...Read More
The Vermont Senate voted 21-7 today in favor of S.348, granting full authority to the Secretary of State to determine whether to mail all registered voters a ballot for this year’s General Election in November. This legislation will make it possible to move forward with a universal vote-by-mail system in Vermont to make voting safe ...Read More
No voter in Vermont should have to choose between staying safe and exercising their right to vote this year. But there is no question that during this pandemic, in-person voting can be dangerous for voters and poll workers alike. This is especially true for the November general election, when voter participation rates are expected to be ...Read More
Last week VPIRG and a coalition of allies sent the following letter to Governor Phil Scott and Secretary of State Jim Condos calling on them to immediately institute a vote-by-mail system in Vermont. The letter was accompanied by a petition signed by just over 1,180 Vermonters in support of this policy. This comes at a critical ...Read More
The Vermont Senate voted today to adopt a number of temporary emergency reforms to facilitate the functions of government and democracy during the COVID-19 pandemic. These include changes to Vermont’s open meetings law and to elections, which could include a vote by mail process. The legislation (H.681) was negotiated during a series of teleconference meetings conducted ...Read More