Voter Registration Spikes On Deadline Day

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Election Day is next Tuesday, but the deadline to register to vote in Vermont is today. It’s been a busy afternoon at city and town clerks’ offices across the state, as last minute get-out-the-vote drives have overwhelmed town officials with voter registration applications.

"It has been very busy," says Scott Schrader who serves as the city clerk in Burlington. Schrader says that there’s been higher-than-average activity at his office’s counter all week and that interest in early voting is very high.

"We’ve received 7,809 requests for absentee ballots thus far and of that we’ve had 5,009 returned," Schrader explains. "So the requests for absentee [ballots] and the returns have been greater than we’ve ever experienced before."

Last month there was a snafu in Burlington with the city ballot. More than 500, which were sent to absentee or early voters, had an error. Question 3 – a question about whether the city should approve a Tax Increment Financing District – had some confusing language.

That language was corrected and new ballots were printed. So if a voter casts one of the uncorrected ballots, it will not be counted. Schrader says the city sent out corrected ballots that will count.

"Any city ballot that is the color gray is not any good," Schrader says. "They’ve been replaced with either a ballot that is colored ivory, cherry or salmon, which is kind of an orange-y color."

Vermont has extended the deadline to November 16th for military and other overseas voters to get their absentee ballots home to ensure they are counted.

After a recount in Vermont’s Progressive Party gubernatorial primary delayed printing, Republican Mitt Romney’s campaign said the state should have asked the Department of Justice to waive the federal law that requires towns to send ballots to members of the military 45-days before the election.

The Secretary of State’s office reached an agreement with the U.S. Justice Department. That means the results from next Tuesday’s election won’t be made official until later in the month.

But if you want to register to vote, the deadline is this evening by 5.

Secretary of State Office: Voter registration information

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