State News
May 5, 2016

Gov. Shumlin signs automatic voter registration law

Gov. Peter Shumlin signed a law on April 28 to make it easier for Vermont voters to register. H.458, signed into law at Montpelier City Hall, automatically registers eligible Vermonters to vote when they apply for a state driver’s license. President Obama has called for so-called automatic voter registration (AVR) laws to be adopted nationwide, as part of a broader push for electoral reforms.
“While states across the country are making it harder for voters to get to the polls, Vermont is making it easier by moving forward with commonsense polices that remove unnecessary barriers and increase participation in our democracy,” said Gov. Shumlin. “I would like to thank Secretary Condos who has long championed important electoral reforms to help more Vermonters exercise this fundamental right to vote.”
“As Vermont’s Secretary of State, I believe voting is a sacred right—one we must protect and encourage by removing unnecessary barriers. Automatic voter registration saves time and money, increases the accuracy of our statewide voter checklist, curbs the potential for fraud, and protects the integrity of our elections,” said Secretary Condos. “AVR saves time and money, increases the accuracy of our statewide voter checklist, curbs the potential for fraud, and protects the integrity of our elections.”
H.458 passed through the Vermont Legislature with virtually unanimous support. It will streamline voter registration at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) with a system that identifies eligible Vermonters and automatically sends their information to their town or city clerk for addition to the checklist, unless they opt out.
Just last year Vermont became the 14th state to allow same-day voter registration. It is estimated that automatic voter registration could add between 30,000 and 50,000 new voters within the first four years, strengthening Vermont’s ranking as a state with among the highest registration rates in the country.
The law will go into effect July 1, 2017.

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