Following the enactment of S.15 yesterday, which will make the mailing of ballots to all Vermont voters a permanent feature of general elections, Secretary of State Jim Condos issued the statement below. – Editor
Today we should be proud as Vermonters. Around the country we are witnessing an assault on voting rights, as state legislatures use conspiracy theories and lies as cover to restrict the Constitutionally guaranteed rights of American voters.
Here in the Green Mountain State we chose a different path. Building on the success of 2020’s record-setting voter participation, legislators of all political stripes worked across the aisle with my office, with Vermont’s hardworking Town Clerks, and with advocates representing a wide range of Vermonters, to carefully craft S.15, which will remove barriers to the ballot box for Vermont voters.
S.15, signed into law by the Governor today, represents the largest expansion of Vermont voter access in decades. This historic legislation will empower more Vermonters to vote, while preserving the integrity and security of the elections process. Through the mailing of ballots to all active, registered voters, those Vermonters who traditionally have found it difficult to cast their ballot will have new options to participate in the civic process.
S.15 also includes an important “ballot curing” process. Now, if you make a mistake on your mail in ballot, such as forgetting to sign the envelope, you will be notified and will have an opportunity to fix it rather than being denied your vote. I firmly believe that our democracy is stronger when we all participate.
Once again, Vermont is leading the nation. Other states are inexplicably rolling back successful policies from 2020 and making it harder to vote. We are making sure that democracy remains in reach for all voters, and becomes even more accessible for those Vermonters who may otherwise be left out.
With the enactment of S.15, Vermont is now one of the most voter friendly states in the country, while maintaining strong safeguards ensuring the security and integrity of our elections and the results they produce.
In 2020 my office mailed ballots to all voters out of necessity. It was done to preserve our rights to vote while keeping our communities safe. Vermonters responded by voting in record shattering numbers, for both total turnout and early or by mail voting. The message was clear: when you give people the tools they need to vote, they do.
I want to thank the legislative leaders, Clerks and advocates who worked hard to craft this landmark bill, which received strong support from Republicans, Democrats, Progressives and independents. I also want to thank the Governor for signing S.15 into law.
I am eager to get to work with my elections team on implementing S.15 and want to assure Vermonters that we are already at work planning for increases to voting by mail, to ensure our elections remain safe and secure. As always, we will keep working to identify and dismantle any barriers to the ballot box Vermonters may be facing.”