Press release – April 28, 2020
Vermont Secretary of State’s Office
For immediate release
Contact: Eric Covey, 802-828-2148
MONTPELIER, Vt. — Today Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos announced a directive, issued April 24, by the Secretary in agreement with the Governor under the authority granted in Act 92, §3 (2020). The directive identifies a number of new processes which municipalities are permitted to use in 2020 in order to conduct their elections as safely as possible.
“In this age of social distancing, we’re all doing our part to reduce exposure and mitigate the potential of spreading the virus,” said Secretary Condos. “I also understand the tremendous pressure some municipalities are under to adopt budgets, or hold other important municipal elections during this very challenging time. Providing this toolbox of options for municipalities to use if they need to hold an election will help protect the safety of voters and election workers while ensuring that Vermonters are able to have their voices heard at the ballot box.”
The permitted processes were devised based on direct feedback to the Secretary of State’s office from Town and City Clerks and local officials, and include:
• Mailing a ballot proactively to every active or registered voter
• Implementing a “drive-up” voting procedure
• Holding a polling location outside
• Forgoing the review of write-in votes in certain instances
• Adjusting the deadline for nominating paperwork for candidates
Specific details on these permitted processes can be found in the directive. In addition, the directive states that election polling places shall follow current requirements regarding social distancing interventions based on Executive Orders of the Governor and issued guidance by the Vermont Department of Health or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This directive is in addition to, and not in replacement of, the Secretary’s first local elections directive, which allows municipalities to postpone upcoming local elections to a later date in 2020.
“We must take the steps necessary to follow social distancing requirements, and limit exposure and risk in our Vermont communities,” said Secretary Condos. “Our elections are no different. It is my hope that the new processes allowed by my directive will make the conduct of elections safer, and easier for our hardworking Town and City Clerks, and local officials, whose jobs have grown increasingly more difficult during this health crisis.”