Lawmakers are again considering same-day voter registration at elections, an idea that some believe will lead to voter fraud. Washington County Sen. Anthony Pollina, a Progressive, has introduced S.29, a bill that would allow voters to register at the polls if they miss the registration deadline, which is 5 p.m. on the Wednesday preceding an election. Pollina said instances of voter fraud are extremely rare and allowing registration at the polls does not present any new opportunities for fraud. Secretary of State Jim Condos testified Friday before the Senate Government Operations Committee, of which Pollina is a member, in support of the legislation. He said the state should be looking at ways to encourage voting, not restricting it. “Voting is a right,” Condos said. “The law should protect this right and only limit it when necessary.”
Condos said he would prefer the state eliminate voter registration deadlines entirely. He said the deadline only serves an administrative purpose for city and town clerks. Removing it would not overly burden clerks, he said. And it would be hard for officials to explain why voters cannot register in the days leading up to an election, but can register on the day of the election.
“I do not think the administrative benefit of a deadline justifies … limiting a right of the people of Vermont,” he said. “I believe we can work with the town clerks as we have over the last several years to put a law in place that is not overly burdensome.”