facebook linkedin twitter

Vermont to Send Ballots to All Voters, Governor Wants Policy Expanded

June 8, 2021 by Dan McCue
Vermont state House. (Wikipedia Commons)

MONTPELIER, Vt. – Vermont Gov. Phil Scott signed into law Monday a bill  making universally mailed ballots a permanent feature of the state’s general election. 

But Scott went a step further, calling on the General Assembly to extend the policy when it returns in January to all elections held in the state, no matter how local.

“I”m signing this bill because I believe making sure voting is easy and accessible, and increasing voter participation, is important,” Scott said.

“Having said that, we should not limit this expansion of access to general elections alone, which already have the highest voter turnout,” he said.

“For greater consistency and to expand access further, I am asking the General Assembly to extend the provisions of this bill to primary elections, local elections and school budget votes,” he said.

The bill Scott signed, S15, also allows voters to fix or “cure” a ballot if it has been deemed defective. 

State Senate President Pro Tem Becca Balint said the impetus behind the bill was simple: “When we make voting more accessible, more people vote. When we make voting more accessible, democracy better reflects the will of the people. 

“Voting is one of the most sacred rights and responsibilities that we have,” she said. “From same day registration to early voting, our state has a strong track record of making it easier for people to vote. 

“I’m proud that this legislature is contributing to that legacy by making mail-in voting the rule for general elections from now on. We have to do all we can to ensure that all eligible voters can easily cast their votes and have equal participation in the work of our state and our nation.” 

House Speaker Jill Krowinski noted the passage of the bill and its being signed into law is a counter to the prevailing trend across the U.S. where state legislatures are curtailing voter access with more restrictive election laws. 

“The passage of our bill sends a clear signal that we believe our democracy is stronger when we make it more accessible,” she said.

Krowinski cited the Brennan Center for Justice, which has said as many as 361 bills with restrictive voting provisions have been introduced in 47 states. 

“The 2020 general election resulted in a 74% participation rate (from 68% in 2016), as well as a dramatic spike in early-voting to 75% (from 30% in 2016) and this bill creates the opportunity for strong voter turnout for years to come,” she said.

Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos struck a similar tone.

“While state legislatures across the country are using conspiracy theories and outright lies as justification for restricting the Constitutional rights of their citizens, Vermont is poised to become one of the most voter friendly states in the country with the passage of S.15,” he said.

“We should be proud of our brave state. While others are working to make it harder to vote, in Vermont we are working to remove barriers to the ballot box for all eligible voters, while strengthening the security and integrity of the voting process,” Condos continued.

“I want to thank the legislative leaders who worked hard on this critical legislation. … I also want to recognize Vermont’s hard working town and city clerks, who keep the front door open to democracy for Vermonters. Their input shaped this legislation, and their hard work ensures that Vermont elections are secure, accurate and accessible.”

“I firmly believe that our democracy is stronger when we all vote. Your vote is your voice, and S.15 will make using that voice even more accessible for all Vermonters,” Condos added.

In The States

September 17, 2021
by Dan McCue
Virginia Voters Begin Heading to the Polls

Early in-person voting in Virginia’s general election began Friday morning, the start of a 45-day period in which those registered... Read More

Early in-person voting in Virginia’s general election began Friday morning, the start of a 45-day period in which those registered to do so can cast ballots for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, the House of Delegates and in local races. Those wishing to vote early can... Read More

September 17, 2021
by Dan McCue
FWS to Consider Possible Listing of Western Gray Wolf

A pair of petitions seeking a determination that gray wolves are a threatened or endangered species in the western U.S.... Read More

A pair of petitions seeking a determination that gray wolves are a threatened or endangered species in the western U.S. have convinced federal officials of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to take a closer look at the situation. “The service finds that the petitions [for... Read More

Minnesota High Court OKs Ballot Question on Minneapolis PD

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Supreme Court cleared the way Thursday evening for voters in Minneapolis to decide on the... Read More

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Supreme Court cleared the way Thursday evening for voters in Minneapolis to decide on the future of policing in the city where George Floyd was killed, just ahead of the start of early and absentee voting. The state's highest court overturned... Read More

Texas AG Paxton Now Suing 15 School Districts Over Masking Guidance

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has expanded litigation efforts against a swath of school districts that defied... Read More

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has expanded litigation efforts against a swath of school districts that defied Gov. Greg Abbott’s ban on mask mandates. Paxton announced on Tuesday his office had filed lawsuits against the Paris, Diboll, Honey Grove, La Vega, Longview, Lufkin,... Read More

Democrats Push for Changes to California Recall Efforts

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom handily defeated a recall election that could have removed him from office,... Read More

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom handily defeated a recall election that could have removed him from office, but his Democratic allies in the Legislature already are seeking changes that could make it harder to mount such a challenge in the future. Those changes... Read More

States Learning How Many Afghan Evacuees Coming Their Way

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration began notifying governors and state refugee coordinators across the country about how many Afghan... Read More

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration began notifying governors and state refugee coordinators across the country about how many Afghan evacuees from among the first group of nearly 37,000 arrivals are slated to be resettled in their states. California is projected to take more arrivals than... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top