Elections official: New law nets more registered voters

MONTPELIER — After six months of implementation of Vermont’s Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) program, Secretary of State Jim Condos announced voter registration updates and enrollment numbers today, crediting the success of Vermont’s AVR program to a strong partnership between the Secretary of State’s Office, the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and local town clerks.
“Automatic Voter Registration not only increases access to the ballot box by registering eligible voters to vote, it improves the quality of our voter rolls” said Secretary of State Jim Condos. “In just six months we’ve seen dramatic increases and have added or updated thousands of voters to our voter rolls.”
From Jan. 1 to June 30 of 2017, 12,344 voter registrations were processed or updated by town clerks based on data sent by the DMV. This is in comparison to 7,626 registrations processed during the same time without AVR the prior year. This is particularly impressive because 2016 was an election year and 2017 is not.
When eligible Vermonters obtain their driver’s license or update their information with the DMV, their information is automatically sent to their town clerk for processing, without any action needed on the voter’s part. Individuals can opt out of this process at the DMV if they wish.
Secretary Condos continued “voting is a sacred right, and is fundamental to our democracy. With all of the talk going on nationally about election reform, AVR is one simple, common-sense way for states to increase election integrity and encourage civic participation in our democratic process. This is real reform, and I encourage other state and national leaders to look to Vermont’s success with AVR as an example.”
The Vermont Legislature overwhelmingly passed AVR in the 2016 legislative session with tri-partisan support. Vermont was the fourth state in the nation to pass AVR and nine states plus the District of Columbia have currently approved AVR. 32 states have introduced AVR bills this year. Senator Leahy has introduced a nationwide automatic voter registration bill, which Secretary Condos strongly supports.

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