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Vermont

0 /65
Vote at Home Score

2020 General Election

Turnout rate (VEP)

0 %

Votes cast from mailed-out ballots

0 %

2016 General Election

Turnout rate (VEP)

0 %

Votes cast from mailed out ballots

0 %

State election policies as of 2022...

Full Vote-at-Home

8/10

Full Vote-at-Home

Voter automatically mailed ballot for every election

No Excuse Required

6/6

No Excuse Required

No excuse to vote from home

Single Sign-Up

6/6

Single Sign-Up

Voter signs up once to receive mail ballot for all future elections

Local Vote-at-Home Option

5/5

Local VAH Option

Local governments have discretion to conduct full vote-at-home elections

Online Mail Ballot Sign-Up

2/2

Online Mail Ballot Sign-Up

Voter can apply for mail ballot online

Ballot Tracking

1/4

Ballot Tracking

Voter can receive ballot status notifications.

In-Person Ballot Return

4/5

In-Person Ballot Return

Voter has multiple options to return mail ballot in person

Signature Verification

0/5

Signature Verification

Voter signature verified before ballot is counted

Ballot Cure Process

2/4

Ballot Cure Process

Voter can correct issues so ballot can be counted

Prepaid Postage

4/4

Prepaid Postage

Postage-paid return envelopes provided

Election Day Postmark Acceptance

0/4

Election Day Postmark Acceptance

Ballots postmarked by Election Day are accepted

In-Person Voting

4/4

In-Person Return

Physical locations for voters to vote and receive assistance

Pre-Processing

3/3

Signature Verification

Ballots are verified and scanned before Election Day

Mail Ballot Applications

2/2

Mail Ballot Applications

Election officials can mail ballot applications to all voters eligible to vote from home

Ballot Return Assistance

2/2

Ballot Return Assistance

Voters may receive assistance to return their mail ballot

Opportunities

We highly recommend creating vote centers, or polling locations where any voter in the municipality (or county, depending on how it’s created) can vote. This is a way to streamline the system so over time, as the share of the vote cast by mail increases, counties can have fewer overall polling locations, while individual voters will have more voting location options.
Current law in Vermont only allows drop boxes on municipal property. We suggest allowing municipalities to place them in other locations to increase voter access and local autonomy, since 24/7 video surveillance of drop boxes is already mandated for unmanned drop boxes.
As use of absentee ballots increases, it is important to make sure that the ballots received are being filled out by the individuals they were sent to. Signature verification procedures ensure the security of the election process while also streamlining ballot processing.
Accepting ballots with Election Day postmarks is a best practice to ensure that voters are given all options to vote their ballot in a timely manner. Current law allows for ballots to be requested up to 3 days before the election, and that is most likely too short of a timespan for a ballot to be mailed to a voter and returned by mail by close of polls. Accepting Election Day postmarks is estimated to decrease ballot rejection rates by half in most jurisdictions. We recommend that Vermont not only allow the physical postmark on a ballot, but also to integrate into the USPS system for electronic postmarks to serve as verification that a ballot was mailed on time.
Vermont can increase voter confidence by allowing voters to track their ballot much like an Amazon package by improving its current ballot tracking system. Advanced ballot tracking systems can proactively notify voters when their ballot takes a new step in the path from being sent to them to finally being counted (or rejected). If a ballot is rejected, these ballot tracking tools can be used as another method to contact voters if there is a signature mismatch or deficiency on their return envelope.
With a drastic increase in mail ballots, Vermont has an opportunity to reach for the gold standard of post-election security by implementing risk limiting audits.
Extending the period voters can cure any fixable issues with their ballots to 5 days after election day would reduce rejection rates.

Recent Legislation

As of June 16, 2021

In 2020, Vermont’s Secretary of State was granted the jurisdiction to enact temporary electoral reforms to adapt to the pandemic. The Secretary issued two orders in July, which authorized Vermont to conduct elections entirely by mail, guarantee prepaid postage, expand ballot return options with drop boxes and drive-up drop off, and give clerks 30 days of pre-processing time. These reforms represented immense progress, but only applied to the 2020 primary and general elections.

During its 2021 session, the State Legislature successfully made these measures permanent and even improved its systems further by adding a cure process. The Joint Fiscal Committee also voted unanimously to use some of Vermont’s remaining CARES Act funding to assist municipalities with paying for prepaid postage and other related costs.

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