Staff report

All registered Vermont voters will automatically receive a ballot for the Nov. 3 general election in the mail, sent to the mailing address on file with their voter registration or pending ballot request.

“Voting by mail is simple, safe and secure,” said Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos. “Our office has taken the proactive steps to mail a ballot to all active, registered voters so that we can preserve the voting rights of all eligible Vermonters during a pandemic, while protecting the public health by reducing high traffic in-person voting on Election Day.”

Ballots will be mailed to voters starting on Monday, Sept. 21. Voters should expect to receive their ballots between then and early October. Any voters who do not receive their ballot by Oct. 1 should contact Town Clerk Mary Mead for a ballot.

A recent nationwide postcard mailing by the United States Postal Service suggested that Vermont voters would need to request November General Election ballots to receive an early absentee ballot, which is not true. Any active, registered Vermont voter will be automatically mailed a ballot, including new registrants.

Voters who newly register before Nov. 3 will receive a ballot automatically from their town or city clerks but are still encouraged to contact their clerk and ensure the information they have provided is complete.

Ballots can be returned by mail, hand delivered early to the voter’s town clerk, which may offer a drop-box return option, or bring their ballot to the polls on Election Day. Polling places will be operating as usual, under proper social distancing and sanitization guidance issued by the Secretary of State’s office and the Vermont Department of Health.

Voted ballots must be in the possession of the town clerk by 7:00 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 3, to be counted. If a voter chooses to return their ballot by mail, Condos encourages them to place the ballot in the mail no less than 10 days before Nov. 3 for their ballot to be received in time.

“The more time you leave to ensure your voted ballot is delivered in time, the better,” said Condos. “How you vote and return your ballot is up to you, but we are asking Vermonters to help lower the absentee ballot curve by returning their ballots as early as they feel comfortable doing so. Remember, your vote is your voice!”