Picture this: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) runs for president in the 2016 Democratic primary. Vermonters, newly awakened to the desire to vote for the hometown boy, rush to the polls for the March election. Should they be able to register on the spot? A bill pending in the Senate would have allowed them to, by enacting same-day voter registration in 2016. But faced with opposition from some town clerks, key senators decided Tuesday to push that date to 2017. “Town clerks earn a fair amount of deference because they run the world at home,” said Sen. Chris Bray (D-Addison), a member of the Senate Government Operations Committee. Clerks have raised concerns about potential voter fraud and an increased election-day workload, particularly in a heavy-turnout, presidential-election year.
Though the committee previously approved the 2016 start date, one of its members, Sen. Brian Collamore (R-Rutland) said Tuesday he would introduce an amendment to delay its enactment by a year. Committee chair Jeanette White (D-Windham) said she would support the move.
“At least this amendment meets the needs of a ton of town clerks out there,” White said.
The Senate is due to vote on the bill Thursday.