Voter Registrations in Vermont
Vermont residents can register to vote in three easy ways, all offered by the Secretary of State’s office. Voter registration is a vital component of productive citizenship in Vermont. This process essentially aligns citizens with like-minded members of their communities, allows them to have an active part in political proceedings for their state and opens up greater channels of communication about local political developments that may be of interest to them. While it is not mandated by law for Vermont residents to obtain voting registration, doing so instantly connects residents to a larger and more stimulating role in his or her area.
Who can register to vote in Vermont?
Vermont extends voter registration eligibility to any citizen who meets the basic criteria set forth by the state. In order to register in Vermont, you must:
- Be a citizen of the United States
- Be a Vermont resident and a resident of the town in which you are applying to vote
- Be a minimum of eighteen years of age or older by the next election day
- Have taken the voter’s oath
What does the voter registration process entail in Vermont?
Vermont residents wishing to register to vote can do so electronically, by mail or in person at their local town or city clerk’s office. Vermont’s online voter registration system is a fast and easy tool that can get you registered to vote with just a few clicks of a mouse. All first-time registrants will be asked to provide a photocopy of an acceptable form of identification, such as a driver’s license or state ID, bank statement, recent utility bill or any other government document showing your current residential address in Vermont.
The Vermont voting registration application comes in triplicate form and you should retain the pink copy for yourself while sending the white and yellow copies to your local town or city clerk’s office. If you are mailing your application to vote, addresses for specific town and city clerk offices can be located via the Vermont Secretary of State website. No matter how you submit the Vermont voter registration application, you should receive an acknowledgment that you are officially registered within two to four weeks after your submission. Unlike some other states, the state of Vermont does not issue a voter registration card to successful applicants. You will receive only the receipt of your completed registration, which is not mandatory to bring with you on polling day. Remember that your voter application is not considered complete until it has been accepted by your local town clerk.
First-time voter registration in Vermont carries the unique requirement of taking a voter’s oath. This oath can be taken by yourself, as an affirmation, be administered to you by any person over the age of 18, taken with a commissioned military officer or with any other government official designated to administer oaths. As of January 1, 2017, all eligible Vermont citizens may register to vote any day leading up to, or even on, the day of the election. However, to ensure that a voting registration application is approved in time for your name to be on the checklist for Election Day, it is advised that you submit your application no later than the Friday preceding the election.
Citizens wishing to register to vote in person can check their town or city clerk’s office hours as registration is available during normal business hours leading up to the election, and during all polling hours on election day.
Where do I find out how to register to vote through absentee or early voting in Vermont?
If you are a Vermont citizen and know in advance that you will not be present for an upcoming election, you can register to vote via absentee ballot though a special request to your local town or city clerk’s office at any time throughout the calendar year. Official early voter registration for any given election in Vermont typically opens twenty days prior to an election date. You must still complete the voter’s oath when participating in an election via absentee ballot. You can request an annual absentee voter registration for all primary and general elections as long as your mailing address in Vermont does not change throughout the calendar year. Annual absentee requests must be renewed each election year.
Am I registered to vote in Vermont elections if I am active-duty military stationed overseas?
“Where do I vote if I am a Vermont citizen who is currently stationed overseas with the military or otherwise working abroad?” This is a common question that can mislead Vermont active-duty military personnel to believe that they need a voter registration change of address in order to participate in elections while they are serving abroad. The good news is that you do not need to change voter registration to vote in Vermont elections if you were registered to vote in Vermont prior to your deployment overseas.
If you had never registered to vote in Vermont before your deployment, you cannot register there while you are away even if you have purchased Vermont property in the meantime. You must complete your voter registration in the town and state at which you officially resided immediately before your departure and can register in Vermont upon your return home.
Vermont participates in the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) and thus Vermont voters stationed or working overseas have the option to complete voting registration by requesting an absentee ballot via email, telephone, fax or mail. You can also have the unused ballot and certificate for the return envelope sent to you by any of these same four means. Vermont law states that all completed ballots must be returned in the absentee certificate envelope with the inclusion of the voter’s original signature and cannot be returned via fax or email. It is recommended that Vermont overseas military personnel request absentee voter registration a minimum of forty-five days prior to the election of interest.
How do I officially change voter registration in Vermont?
You can change voter registration address information in Vermont via the same three platforms through which you registered to vote. Changing voter registration is easiest and fastest through the online registration system provided by the Secretary of State but can also be completed via the paper application submitted either by mail or in person to your town or city clerk’s office. Notify your town or city clerk of any address or name changes that affect your Vermont voter registration as quickly as possible to avoid problems at the polls on Election Day. Be sure to also update your information on any important documents, like your driver’s license.