Vermonters filed in and out of polling locations Tuesday with just enough time to cast their vote.
Secretary of State Jim Condos explained what the in-person voting scene looked like across the state. From the start, Condos emphasized his two-part approach: protecting Vermonters’ rights and their safety.
“One is to protect eligible voters’ rights to cast a ballot. That’s a constitution right, and the second is to protect the safety of not only the voters but the town clerks and their poll workers,” said Condos.
Every polling location was equipped with infection prevention kits, which included face masks and shields, gloves, wipes, and hand-sanitizer – all to protect those at the polls.
“I came in person today because I forgot to do my mail-in ballot. But I figured, if I can go to the store and shop, I can certainly do this. This is just as important as that,” said Burlington resident Jamie Hathaway.
Hathaway described the in-person voting scene as ‘too light,’ but Secretary Condos said mail-in ballots made in-person voting safer to do so.
“Many of the town clerks that I’ve heard from have said that the turn out in-person has been low, which is really not unexpected and, frankly, is exactly what we were planning for,” said Condos.
For those who can’t wear masks for medical reasons, Secretary Condos says separate voting booths were available. Some locations implemented a drive-thru system to ensure an easy and safe voting experience.
“Every time is important and we don’t know always until later that it was an important time to vote,” said Hathaway.
Secretary Condos extends his gratitude to poll workers and town clerks on the front lines.
“Our municipal town and city clerks are some of our hardest working individuals at the local government level. They will be up before 5 am (Tuesday) morning and they won’t go to bed till after midnight…,” said Condos.
Vermonters had until 7 p.m. Tuesday to submit their ballot. Secretary Condos says the state is likely going to see record participation.
He suggested the state will reach 120,000 ballots, which may be more than the total number of ballots submitted in both the 2016 and ’18 elections.
Throughout it all, safety has been the number one priority.