Election Day Prep For Vermont Voters

AROUND THE NEK - If you still have not voted for the General Election, there is still plenty of time. Jim Condos goes into great detail on how Vermonters are encouraged to vote this Year. 

The Secretary of state's office had some challenges this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The office had two goals when planning for the 2020 election.

One: to preserve the voting rights of every Vermont voter, Two; to help keep everyone safe and healthy during this time to ensure that no one needs to pick their vote over their health.

Back in the February and March time frame the Legislature granted the Secretary of State the authority to adopt temporary election procedures for the year 2020.

These election procedures were only adopted for the purpose of this year, but driving down in person turns out when it comes to gathering at the polls was going to be very difficult.

The best way to ensure the maximum amount for absentee voting was to mail every active registered voter a ballot with a prepaid return envelope. The decision had to be made months in advance in order to ensure success for Vermont voters.

"Not knowing what path the virus would take or what would face us in October or November amidst the speculation around the resurgence of the virus in the fall. In hindsight while Vermont has done a commendable job of containment on the Covid-19, the rest of the United States has not necessarily," Condos explains.

The safe early voting period is already under way in Vermont, on October 1st, the Secretary's mail vendor put the last of the 400 thirty-eight thousand ballot packages in the mail stream.

Over 41 thousand voters have already sent in their ballot packages, with under 30 days until the general election, Condos thought it would be important to hold a meeting for voters that have not started the mailing process. If a voter does not have their ballot by October 7th, they should contact their Town Clerk Immediately.

"For instance, if someone moved without updating their voters registration information and only submitted a change of address for the post office those ballots would not be forwarded, they will need to contact their Town Clerk. It is still early, and there are many safe voting options available to voters," Condos goes on to say.

Condos wants everyone in the state of Vermont to know that all 275 poll locations will be open. For voters that are new to early voting, the Secretary of State has a safe and easy way to go through the process.

"We have taken to telling people the easy to remember phrase seal, sign, and send. Once someone has voted their ballot they should place it in the voted ballots envelope, and seal it. This is a certificate envelope, which on the front of the envelope they must fill out completely and sign it, and date it. They can then place that sealed and signed voted ballot envelope in the mail, the mailing return envelope which is pre-addressed to their Town Clerk. No stamp-age is required, postage has been prepaid," Condos explains.

Condos advises voters to get their ballots in the mail no later than 10 days before the election day on October 24th. People can also bring their ballots to their Town Clerks if they feel comfortable.

Many Clerks have secured drop boxes, or mail slots for ballots to ensure maximum safety between Clerks and residents.

Ballots can be brought to the polls Tuesday November 3rd, encouraging voters to bring the ballots that they were mailed. If anyone has misplaced their ballot, don't worry, you will still be able to vote!

"I hope that with these safe and secure voting options all eligible Vermonters feel empowered to cast their ballot and be part of choosing our elected leaders," Condos says with enthusiasm.