MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Early voting in Vermont began Monday for the November 3 election, along with the mailing of ballots to all active, registered voters in the state.
Voters should expect to receive their ballots by early October, Secretary of State Jim Condos said. Voters whose ballots have not arrived by October 7 should contact their town or city clerk.
Georgette Wolf-Ludwig, the town clerk of Fairlee and the president of the Vermont Municipal Clerks’ and Treasurers’ Association, said Monday afternoon that no one had yet come in to vote.
She doubts many voters will come in before they receive their ballots in the mail, she said, and that will probably take several days.
If someone did come and insist upon voting before their ballot arrived in the mail, she said she would accommodate them but would make them sign a document promising they wouldn’t vote twice.
“I think people are very anxious to get their vote in,” said Wolf-Ludwig, noting there was record turnout in the August primary.
All active voters in Vermont will be receiving ballots in the mail this year as part of a broader effort to ensure people can vote safely during the coronavirus pandemic.
Voters can return their ballots by mail, bring their voted ballots directly to their town or city clerk or bring their ballots to the polls on Election Day. Polling locations will be open as normal for all voters who do not vote early. The ballot envelopes are postage-paid.
Mail-in voters must follow the instructions for their ballots to count. They must place the ballots in a separate envelope, completely filling out a certificate and signing it.
“I am encouraging Vermont voters to help ‘flatten the absentee ballot curve’ by voting and returning their ballots as early as they feel comfortable,” Condos said.
Town and city clerks may begin processing the ballots 30 days prior to the election, including feeding them into tabulating machines or storing them securely until they can be counted by hand on election night.
Vote tabulator machines will not display vote counts, only the number of voted ballots, until election night.
Last week, a federal court judge rejected a challenge to Vermont’s plan to mail ballots.
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