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Primary Election Date Change Advances in Legislature

Lawmakers want to change the date of Vermont's primary elections.
MONTPELIER - Lawmakers want to change the date of Vermont's primary elections.

The House passed a bill Friday to change the date from the 4th Tuesday in August to the first Tuesday. This is because the federal Overseas Voting Act requires all ballots to go out to soldiers 45 days before the general election.

That timing works out fine, unless there's a recount in the primary.

"Two weeks to recount all the votes statewide would put us beyond the time that it would actually need to get the ballots out," said State Rep. Ron Hubert (R-Milton). "So we need that extra time to do that." Hubert is on the Government Operations committee which passed the bill before it went to the floor.

The federal government did sue Vermont four years ago, when a recount cut it very close to getting the general election ballots out in time. It was Governor Peter Shumlin who asked for a recount in the primary election during his gubernatorial race.

The new date wouldn't go into effect until the 2016 presidential election cycle, since this election cycle is already underway.
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