Vermont State Senate votes in favor of mail-in-ballots

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Mail in ballots

Mail-in ballots for the 2016 General Election at the elections ballot center in Salt Lake City. As President Donald Trump rails against voting by mail, many members of his own political party are embracing it to keep their voters safe during the coronavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

MONTPELIER, Vt. (NEWS10) — The Vermont State Senate passed S.348 by a vote of 24 to 7, empowering the Secretary of State to decide whether to mail all registered voters a ballot for the November 2020 General Election.

March legislation granted joint authority to Gov. Phil Scott and Secretary of State Jim Condos, but the governor said he did not want to be involved in making the determination. He also signaled he would not approve a plan until after Vermont’s August primary, though Condos said waiting until August would not protect voters and or poll workers.

The legislation brings Vermont one step closer to a universal vote-by-mail system amid the coronavirus outbreak.

After passing the Senate, S.348 must next pass through the House of Representatives in order for Secretary Condos to have unilateral control over the decision.

“This bill will clear the way for tens of thousands more Vermonters to vote safely from home than have ever done so before. It will not only protect those voters, but it will minimize the risk for our volunteer poll workers and other elections officials, too.”

Paul Burns
Executive Director, Vermont Public Interest Research Group

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