Vermont’s primary election is fast approaching and, this year, there are many ways to cast your vote.
Secretary of State Jim Condos says those who plan to mail in their ballot, must do so by Tuesday, Aug. 4 to ensure it’s received on time.
So far, over 140,000 absentee ballots were requested in Vermont and nearly 57,000 have been mailed in. Secretary Condos is confident the number will reach 60,000, almost double the absentee ballots received in the 2016 and 2018 elections.
“So our whole goal was to drive down the number of people who will actually show up at the poles,” said Secretary Condos.
In Colchester, over 3700 ballots were requested and around 1600 were returned. Town Clerk and Presiding Election Official Julie Graeter said while mail-in ballots aren’t new, the high voter volume is unique.
“The first two weeks that we started in July, we had huge amounts of requests. So that was slightly overwhelming to us. We were sending out three or four hundred ballots a day,” said Graeter.
That’s hours of folding, stuffing, labeling, and, of course, mailing, and Secretary Condos reminds mail-in voters to carefully follow the instructions.
“Your voted ballot will not count if the certificate envelope is not signed or you haven’t returned the two unvoted ballots,” said Condos.
The ballot comes with three different ballots: Democrat, Republican, and Progressive. Only one is filled out and the other two must be sent back. Secretary Condos says these instructions are clearly printed, but Town Clerks are available for assistance.
Graeter says those who can’t get their voted ballot in by Tuesday, Aug. 4, can still vote – in a matter of minutes, too.
“On election day, we’ll have a box available to drop their ballots off so they don’t have to stand in line,” said Graeter.
Graeter told me about 1500 Vermonters show up to the polls on election day…but given mail-in voting, she expects in-person voting to drop more than 50 percent.
It just goes to show people are concerned about COVID and like the idea of being able to vote from home.”
It’s important to note, there are many ways to vote in this primary election. One of the best ways right now is to hand-deliver it to your town clerk now until the end of business on Aug. 10.