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How to Vote in Vermont’s 2020 Election: What You Need to Know

En español | Early voting and absentee ballots were available to all Vermont voters before coronavirus, but state officials have made it easier and safer to vote during the pandemic:

  • For the first time in a general election, absentee ballots will be mailed to all registered voters. They'll be sent out in late September or early October and any registered voter can use one, no excuse or reason needed.
  • You’ll also be able to vote early by mail and in person from Sept. 21 through Nov. 2.
A man walks out of an absentee voting station after voting
ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images

Here’s what else you need to know:

How do I register to vote?

You can register online, by mail or in person. The state’s Online Voter Registration System allows you to register or update your registration information. You can also download a voter registration form and submit it to your town or city clerk.

If you’re registering to vote for the first time, you’ll need to provide a copy of your driver’s license or another form of approved ID. You may also be asked to confirm the last four digits of your Social Security number if you don’t have a driver’s license. You can find a full list of acceptable identification at the secretary of state’s website.

You may register to vote up to and including Election Day. But if you register online on Election Day or the day before, your application may not be processed and your name may not appear on your polling location’s registered voter checklist. In that situation, you may be asked to fill out another application at the polls. Voters are encouraged to register early — if possible by Oct. 30, the Friday before Election Day.

You can check if you're already registered and update your registration information through the Online Voter Registration System.

How can I get an absentee ballot? Are there important deadlines?

Vermont is a no-excuse absentee ballot state, so any registered voter who wishes to vote absentee may cast a ballot safely from home. All registered voters will receive an absentee ballot automatically this year, unless election officials have questions about a voter’s eligibility.

If you don’t receive a ballot or would like to request one yourself, submit a request online or fill out an application and mail it to your town or city clerk. You can also get the form from your clerk’s office and fill it out in person.

Once you receive your ballot, mail it to your clerk or drop it off at the clerk’s office. Some towns may also provide secure drop boxes. All ballots must be returned to the town clerk’s office before the close of business on Nov. 2, or to your local polling place before 7 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 3.

How do I know my absentee ballot is secure?

All ballots have two envelopes, an outer postage-paid envelope and an inner security envelope that's printed with the voter’s name, voter ID and a bar code to track the ballot.

Under penalty of perjury, voters must sign the security envelope affirming that they are who they say they are. Town clerks will store the returned absentee ballots in a secure location until Election Day, when they're delivered to the voters’ assigned polling place. A ballot tracking and voter checklist system is used to ensure that no one casts more than one vote. 

Voters can also check the status of their ballot using the state’s voter information portal, My Voter Page.

When is Election Day? When are polls open?

Tuesday, Nov. 3. Polls open between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m., depending on where you live. All polls close at 7 p.m. You should consult the My Voter Page or contact your town or city clerk’s office to determine when and where to cast your ballot.

Can I vote before Election Day?

Yes. Vermont permits early voting by mail beginning Sept. 21. You can also vote by completing and submitting an absentee ballot in person at your town or city clerk’s office. AARP is urging voters to return their ballots as soon as possible.

What form of identification do I need to vote?

You won’t be required to show ID when you cast your ballot unless it's your first time voting. You can find a full list of acceptable identification at the secretary of state’s website.

What is being done to make polling places safe from coronavirus?

You may be required to wear a face covering if you cast your ballot in person.

Will I be able to vote in the same place as I always have?

Not necessarily. Check with your town clerk to confirm when and where to cast your ballot.

What are the key races in my state?

  • U.S. president
  • U.S. House: Incumbent Peter Welch (D) vs. Miriam Berry (R) and Chris Brimmer (P)
  • Governor: Incumbent Phil Scott (R) vs. Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman (D)
  • State Senate: All 30 seats
  • State House: All 150 seats

Voting rules and procedures may change before Election Day. We’ll update this story if they do, so bookmark this page and check back.

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AARP is urging older Americans to ask the candidates 5 key questions:

  • Just over half of all older Social Security beneficiaries rely on the program for at least 50 percent of their income. If elected, how will you ensure that current and future Social Security benefits are not cut as part of deficit reduction?
  • Half of the people with traditional Medicare spend at least a sixth of their income on health care. If elected, how will you protect Medicare from benefit cuts, as well as lower health care costs and ensure seniors continue receiving the affordable health care they have earned?
  • COVID-19 has caused death and suffering for too many older Americans who require long-term care. If elected, how will you make sure seniors can access safe and affordable long-term care at home, as well as in facilities like nursing homes and assisted living?

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