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Voting by mail begins for August primaries

Last Friday was the official start of early voting for the Vermont Statewide Primary elections, which take place on Aug. 11, Secretary of State Jim Condos announced.

“Early voting, including no-excuse absentee voting by mail, provides critical access to the ballot box for voters unable to vote in-person at the polls on Election Day,” Condos said. “Voting early or by mail has taken on an increased importance during the COVID-19 pandemic. As we all do our part to protect the public health, voting by mail is a safe and secure way to have your voice heard in our democratic process while reducing traffic at the polling places for those Vermonters who need to vote in-person.”

Vermont’s no-excuse, 45-day early voting period allows any registered voter to request an early ballot. All registered voters will receive a postcard with instructions on how to request their ballot. The postcard will include a tear-off, postage paid and addressed return postcard that voters can use to request their ballot.

Vermont voters are not required to use the postcard to request their ballot. They can also request their ballot directly from their Town Clerk in writing, by phone, by email, or in-person during normal business hours.

“Voting early by mail is safe, secure and simple,” Condos said. “Americans have been voting by mail since the Civil War, and thousands of Vermonters have been voting by mail for years.”

Voting by mail requires placing a completed ballot in a provided envelope containing unique voter information, which the voter seals and signs under the pains and penalties of perjury confirming their identity, and affirming that they were not unduly influenced. When their ballot is received by their Town Clerk, the clerk records it as voted. Voters can check the status of their ballot online, including when their request was received, when their ballot was mailed and when their returned ballot was received.

For the August Statewide Primaries, Vermonters do not need to claim which major party’s primary election they wish to vote in. They will receive all three ballots (Democrat, Republican, Progressive) and select in private which one they would like to vote. Voters must return the voted ballot and the two unvoted ballots.