The Vermont Secretary of State’s office on Monday issued formal rules for the November election, including sending ballots to all registered voters so they can vote by mail.

“Voting by mail is simple, safe, and secure,” Condos said. “Planning for the 2020 elections, as we collectively respond to the COVID-19 health crisis, has meant accepting that for some of us, the elections process may look or feel a little different this year.”

The 2020 Statewide Elections Directive was part of laws passed by the Legislature allowing mail-in voting during the November election as a way to encourage voting during the COVID 19 pandemic.

The directive “reflects our best effort to balance every Vermonter’s constitutional right to vote with the health and safety concerns we all share in these unprecedented and unpredictable times during thisCOVID-19 health crisis,” Condos’ office said.

Tens of thousands of Vermonters vote by mail every election cycle according to Condos. As of Monday, the number of ballot requests for the upcoming primary elections was over 108,000, exceeding the total number of votes cast in the 2018 primary.

Condos said the ballots will be mailed starting Friday, September 18. Voters can return them by mail, bring it to their town of city clerk or cast that ballot at the polls on Election Day. 

Voting by mail is not a new concept in Vermont or nationally. Condos said tens of thousands of Vermonters vote by mail in every election cycle.