Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin signed legislation Thursday to automatically register eligible voters who apply for a driver’s license or state ID, making the Green Mountain State fourth in the nation to enact an automatic voter-registration law. “While states across the country are making it harder for voters to get to the polls, Vermont is making it easier by moving forward with commonsense policies that remove unnecessary barriers and increase participation in our democracy,” Shumlin said in a statement.Full Article: Vermont Becomes Fourth State With Automatic Voter Registration - The Atlantic.
Articles about voting issues in Vermont.
Vermont: Senate approves changes to the state’s public campaign financing law | Vermont Press Bureau
The Senate has given its approval to a bill intended to make publicly financed political campaigns more viable. By a vote of 19 to 6, Senate lawmakers Friday approved S.220, a bill that moves up the date a candidate seeking public financing can start a campaign, which supporters say will allow these candidates to better compete with those who are privately financed. “My feeling is, we shouldn’t privilege publicly financed candidates, but we shouldn’t punish them, either,” said Sen. Philip Baruth, D-Chittenden, the lead sponsor of the bill. The punishment Baruth is referring to is the amount of lead time a privately financed candidate has over one seeking public financing.Full Article: Senate approves changes to the state’s public campaign financing law | Vermont Press Bureau.
Sixteen months after Progressive/Democrat Dean Corren lost his bid for lieutenant governor, he and the Attorney General’s Office still are embroiled in a double-barreled court fight over whether Corren violated Vermont’s campaign finance law. The case may turn on whether an email blast urging support for a candidate counts as an electioneering communication and therefore a political contribution, or, because it involves the use of computers and mailing lists, is exempt from the types of contributions that need to be reported to the secretary of state. The dust-up started in October 2014, when the Vermont Democratic Party sent out an email to 19,000 recipients inviting them to a series of rallies for the party’s candidates, including Corren, a former legislator from Burlington.Full Article: Vermont Campaign finance battles continue in court.
A bill that would automatically register Vermonters to vote as part of the driver’s license application process has passed the Vermont House of Representatives. House members voted 137-0 Tuesday to send the bill to the Senate. If the bill becomes law, Vermonters could opt out of voter registration by checking a box on the application or renewal form for a driver’s license or nondriver identification card. Otherwise, the Department of Motor Vehicles would assume applicants met the legal requirements for voting and would send their information to the Vermont Secretary of State’s Office.Full Article: Vt. House approves automatic voter registration.
The Vermont secretary of state’s office rolled out a new online system Thursday that allows residents to register to vote, check their voting status and request an absentee ballot. Secretary of State Jim Condos introduced the system, and said 285 people have already used it to register to vote since it was turned on last week. The system includes a statewide voter checklist and other tools that town and city clerks across Vermont can use to help manage elections, including complicated after-election reports.Full Article: Vermonters can now go online to register to vote - Houston Chronicle.
Starting today, Vermonters can register to vote from the comfort of their own homes. Secretary of State Jim Condos says the new online voter registration system will improve access to democracy, and will also make elections less vulnerable to fraud. About 90 percent of Vermont’s nearly 500,000 eligible voters are already eligible to vote. But for the 50,000 or so people who have yet to join the checklist, or for those newly eligible to vote, the process needed to cast a ballot just got easier. “So they can actually register whenever it’s most convenient for them – they don’t have to take time away from work,” Condos says.Full Article: Online Voter Registration Now Open In Vermont | Vermont Public Radio.
The chairman of the Vermont Republican Party called for a Vermont elections worker to be sidelined Friday because of what he called “clear bias” in the official’s online comments. Secretary of State Jim Condos replied that the issue had already been resolved internally, and that he trusted the worker to perform his duties fairly. At issue are social media posts by J.P. Isabelle, an elections administrator in the Vermont Secretary of State’s Office. In one comment on the Vermont Political Observer, a liberal blog, a user called J.P. Isabelle wrote that he attended an event for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Matt Dunne and “left feeling energized.” Isabelle also commented on gubernatorial election dynamics on Twitter. Republican Party Chairman Dave Sunderland wrote to Condos about the online comments.Full Article: Vermont GOP questions neutrality of election official.
With a presidential election a year away, Vermont officials are working to make casting a ballot easier for voters. Starting Oct. 12, the Office of the Secretary of State will roll out a new online elections management system that will let Vermont residents register to vote electronically, request absentee ballots and track their personal voting information. Secretary of State Jim Condos called the nearly two-year process of overhauling the state’s systems a response to his agency’s “antiquated” way of doing business. “We think that this will help us increase participation not only from our local residents, but also from our military and overseas voters,” Condos told StateScoop. “It improves the accuracy, it certainly has a reduction in budgetary requirements and increases the speed in which [registrations] are done.”Full Article: Vermont readies new online elections management tool - StateScoop.
With the stroke of the governor’s pen on Monday, Vermont became the 14th state to allow same-day voter registration. Proponents say the measure will help improve low turnout rates in Vermont elections. Critics though say it could make it easier to sabotage the democratic process. Secretary of State Jim Condos fielded calls from two town clerks last Election Day, each with the same urgent question: “I’ve got two people who just walked into my office to sign up to vote, can they vote on Tuesday?” Condos says regrettably, the clerks had a statutory duty to turn the would-be voters away. And he says the episode underscores the importance of the same-day voter registration bill signed into law by Gov. Shumlin on Monday. “Simply put, this is a voters’ rights bill,” Condos said.Full Article: Vermont Becomes The 14th State To Allow Same-Day Voter Registration | Vermont Public Radio.
Vermont will allow voters to cast ballots the same day they register to vote, effective January 2017. It used to be that voters would need to register close to a week before casting a ballot. “For the greatest democracy in the world, the number of people who vote in elections is too low, and it hurts our democracy because it’s so low,” said Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-Vt. Shumlin authorized the so-called same-day voter registration law Monday in Montpelier, making Vermont the fourteenth state to have such a law. Other states that allow same-day voter registration include New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Maine, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.Full Article: Vermont to Launch Same-Day Voter Registration | NECN.
A measure that would allow Vermonters to register to vote at a polling place on Election Day passed the House on a voice vote Tuesday. Starting in 2017, the bill would allow people to fill out a voter registration form minutes before voting without providing any formal identification. The House Government Operations Committee cleared S.29 from committee along party lines before the full body approved it on a 87-54 vote. The Senate now must either approve the House changes or appoint a conference committee to iron out the differences.Full Article: Same-day voter registration passes House - VTDigger.
The Vermont Senate rejected a last-ditch effort Wednesday to require photo identification at the polls as part of a same-day voter registration bill. State senators amended an original version of the Election Day voter registration bill last week and delayed implementation of S.29 until 2017 — after the next presidential election. Sen. Dustin Degree, R-Franklin, last week attempted to delay S.29 until the Secretary of State’s Office could prove in writing that all polling places had Internet connections in order to access the secretary’s online voter checklist. Degree abandoned that amendment Tuesday.Full Article: Senate passes same-day voter registration, rejects photo ID - VTDigger.
Lawmakers are taking a step they hope will increase voter participation. By a vote of 20 to 7 Thursday afternoon, the Senate gave preliminary approval to a bill that would allow residents to register to vote on the day of an election. Currently, an individual who wishes to cast a vote on a Tuesday must have registered to vote by the previous Wednesday. “Those of us in this building spend a lot of time thinking about elections, but most people don’t,” said Sen. Jeanette White, D-Windham. “People move or go into long-term care facilities in a town where they were not originally registered to vote and didn’t get engaged until the last moment. That doesn’t mean they’re uninformed.”Full Article: Election Day Voter Registration Advances In Senate | Vermont Public Radio.
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.Full Article: Amendment Would Push Same-Day Voter Registration to 2017 | Off Message | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice.
The Senate will take up a same day voter registration bill this week. S.29 would allow a town clerk to add a registrant’s name to the voter checklist during regular business hours on Election Day. Under the legislation, eligible voters could fill out a registration form, and the presiding officer at the polls would inform them if they were approved to vote. The Senate Government Operations Committee passed the bill in a 3-2. Sens. Jeanette White, D-Windham, Anthony Pollina, D/P-Washington, and Christopher Bray, D-Addison, voted for the bill. Sens. Brian Collamore, R-Rutland, and Joe Benning, R-Caledonia, opposed it.Full Article: Senate to take up same-day voter registration this week - VTDigger.
Brattleboro residents younger than 18 must wait their turn to vote after a proposal to lower the voting age by two years for local elections failed at the polls Tuesday. Voters rejected all four articles on the ballot during all-day voting, including one that would have recommended a 1 percent local option tax in the town as well as the voting age proposal and two others raised by the advocacy group Brattleboro Common Sense. The local option tax failed, with 361 votes in favor and 672 against.Full Article: Brattleboro rejects lowering voting age : Rutland Herald Online.
Everyone who votes in today’s elections in Brattleboro will be at least 18 years old. But that could change if voters pass a ballot measure to extend the right to vote in town elections to 16- and 17-year-olds. Supporters say pushing the voting age down two years would improve voter turnout and bring the right to vote in line with other privileges, such as a driver’s license, at age 16. “It’s part of a way of enlivening the electorate here,” Kurt Daims, the Brattleboro resident who submitted the ballot item, said Monday. “We want to propose this as a way to make the younger people grow an attachment to their town.” Daims described restricting voting rights to people who are 18 and older as a violation of basic rights.Full Article: Brattleboro weighs voting rights for 16- and 17-year olds - SentinelSource.com: Local News.
A left-leaning town in southern Vermont is taking up on Tuesday a referendum to extend the right to vote in local elections to teenagers as young as 16, but even if the measure passes it would still require the state legislature’s approval. The so-called “youth vote amendment” would lower the minimum voting age in Brattleboro, a town of about 12,000 people, to 16 from its current 18, the age minimum for state and federal elections. The amendment is part of slate of proposals being considered on Tuesday as part of Brattleboro’s annual town meeting.Full Article: Vermont town seeks to lower voting age to 16, from 18 | Reuters.
Vermont: Vermont looks at timing primary to New Hampshire’s, but would have fight on its hands | Daily Journal
Vermont is coveting its neighbor’s primary and New Hampshire is not amused. A Green Mountain State lawmaker is pushing to have Vermont tag along with early-voting New Hampshire, which is traditionally home to the nation’s first primary. The 2016 election will mark a century of New Hampshire running presidential primaries, though it’s really been a feature on the political landscape, bringing the Granite State a quadrennial burst of media attention, hotel and restaurant business and clout in presidential politics since 1952. New Hampshire state law calls for its primary to be held at least seven days before any similar election — caucuses like the ones in Iowa don’t count, since they aren’t primaries. That could be difficult to accomplish in the future if Vermont passes Senate Bill 76.Full Article: Vermont looks at timing primary to New Hampshire's, but would have fight on its hands - Daily Journal.
Vermont: Lawmakers consider changing majority rule in elections, could opt to do nothing | Associated Press
A month after state lawmakers had to elect a governor because no one got a majority in November, a key lawmaker said Wednesday that the best solution to the issue may be to do nothing. “We are more seriously looking at whether we need to have a change,” said Sen. Jeanette White, chairwoman of the Senate Government Operations Committee. “I think a number of people automatically assumed that we had to have a change, but now we’re looking at do we need to have a change.” The panel is considering proposed amendments to the Vermont Constitution, which currently says that if no one gets more than 50 percent of the vote in a general election for governor, lieutenant governor or treasurer, the election goes to the Legislature.Full Article: Vermont lawmakers consider changing majority rule in elections, could opt to do nothing - Daily Journal.