Jim Condos: Your vote is your voice
This week’s writer is Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos
I love voting. Going to the polling place to engage in the democratic process alongside family, friends, and neighbors is something I always look forward to. In fact, that is one of the reasons why I got involved in public service and ran to become your Secretary of State. Like so many other aspects of our lives, the COVID-19 pandemic has created significant challenges for our elections process.
How you exercise your right to vote is your choice.
Many of us, including me, have decided to vote early or by mail in the Statewide Primary Elections this year, while others will be voting at the polls on Tuesday, Aug. 11. Know that whichever method you choose to vote by, my office and Vermont’s hardworking Town Clerks have done the legwork necessary to ensure a safe, fair, accessible, and secure election. As we rapidly approach Election Day, Vermont voters who have not already returned their ballots to their Town Clerk should know the following:
• If you plan to mail your voted ballot back to the Town Clerk, I recommend you get your ballot in the mail by Tuesday, Aug. 4, at the absolute latest. The time to mail return ballots is nearly over.
• You can also return your ballot directly to the Town Clerk during normal business hours any day that they are open up to close of business hours on Monday, Aug. 10. We cannot guarantee or predict mail times, so hand delivery to your clerk is the best option right now to ensure your ballot is received on time.
Some Clerks have installed secure drop boxes for returning ballots. Check directly with your Town Clerk about office hours and any visitation procedures they may have in place.
• You can also deliver your ballot to the polls on Election Day. The polls close at 7 p.m. Check mvp.vermont.gov to verify your polling location.
• All polling places will be open until 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 11, for in-person voting.
Please wear a mask, and be prepared to follow social distancing guidelines, as well as other polling place procedures the Town Clerks have put in place based on guidance from my office and the Vermont Department of Health. We have supplied the Town Clerks with infection prevention kits for the polling places, which include gloves, masks, hand sanitizer, and surface disinfectant.
Remember, your vote is your voice! Make sure that you exercise your right to participate in our democracy in whatever way you decide is best for you. Now get out, or stay in, and vote!