Vermont sets record for early voting three weeks before election day

Vermont has set a new record for the number of early or absentee ballots returned before Election Day, Secretary of State Jim Condos announced this week. 

As of the end of the day Oct. 13, Vermonters had returned more than 110,000 ballots, Condos’ office said in a news release. The previous record was set during the 2016 election, when more than 95,000 voters total cast early or absentee ballots.

There are still several weeks left until the Nov. 3 election this year. 

Closeup on a voter information paper with '2020 Vote by Mail Ballot' heading and pen laying on top.

All active voters in Vermont automatically received ballots in the mail in September as a way to encourage early voting during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Vermonters are still allowed to vote in person if they choose, Condos has said.

“Our hard work preparing for the 2020 General Election during the COVID-19 health crisis has paid off already, as Vermonters have overwhelmingly embraced safe and secure voting options to cast their ballots,” Condos wrote in a statement.

More:How Vermont is making sure 2020 general election ballots are sent only to active voters

As of the end of September, there were more than 495,000 people registered to vote in Vermont, according to the Secretary of State’s website.

Vermont was one of the states mentioned in a Buzzfeed News story this week as a high early-voter-turnout state. According to the news organization, the number of total early ballots cast by Americans so far in the 2020 election account for just over 10% of the total ballots cast in the 2016 election. But, in Vermont, votes so far have accounted for closer to 30% of the state’s total turnout in 2016. 

Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos has issued a directive to modify voting procedures for the 2020 primary in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For votes to be counted in Vermont, they must be received by the voter’s town or city clerk by 7 p.m. on Nov. 3. Condos has encouraged people choosing to vote by mail to post their ballots no later than 10 days before the election to ensure they are counted.

Vermonters can also return their ballots in person to their clerk’s offices prior to election day, or they can bring their completed ballot to the polls on Nov. 3. And, they can vote in person if they prefer as polling stations will be operating under COVID-19 health and safety recommendations, Condos has said.

Any eligible voter who has not received a ballot should contact their town or city clerk immediately to obtain one, Condos’ office said.

More:Where do I vote? A roundup of Chittenden County spots if you plan to vote in person

Contact Elizabeth Murray at 802-651-4835 or emurray@freepressmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at @LizMurrayBFP.