MONTPELIER – On Tuesday, the Vermont Senate passed a bill that would make universal mail-in voting a permanent fixture in November elections.
The bill would also allow voters to fix or ‘cure’ a ballot if it has been deemed defective.
“When we make voting more accessible, more people vote. When we make voting more accessible, democracy better reflects the will of the people. Voting is one of the most sacred rights and responsibilities that we have,” said Senate President Pro Tem Becca Balint.
“The passage of our bill sends a clear signal that we believe our democracy is stronger when we make it more accessible and open to all Vermonters,” said House Speaker Jill Krowinski. “S.15 counters the prevailing trend across the U.S. where state legislatures are curtailing voter access with more restrictive election laws.”
Governor Phil Scott said he will likely sign the bill into law after reading the latest version passed by the Senate. He had previously shown support for the move, even suggesting the Legislature should consider mail-in voting for other local elections like Town Meeting Day.
Lieutenant Governor Molly Gray agreed, saying in a Tuesday statement that this should be the first step of a longer process to expand voting access.
“A record number of Vermonters voted in the 2020 election, proving that vote-by-mail drastically increases voter participation in our elections and gives voters more opportunity to have their voices heard,” Lt. Gov. Gray said. “I look forward to working with Vermont policymakers and our Congressional delegation to further expand the vote-by-mail process to all elections.”
Following the bill’s passage, Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos also weighed in:
“We should be proud of our brave state,” Condos said. “While others are working to make it harder to vote, in Vermont we are working to remove barriers to the ballot box for all eligible voters, while strengthening the security and integrity of the voting process.”