State News

Senate passes same-day voter registration

By Erin Mansfield,

The Vermont Senate rejected a last-ditch effort Wednesday to require photo identification at the polls as part of a same-day voter registration bill.

An amendment delays implementation of S.29 until 2017 — after the next presidential election.

Sen. Dustin Degree, R-Franklin, abandoned an amendment that would delay S.29 until the Secretary of State’s Office could prove that all polling places had adequate broadband.

Degree instead proposed that Election Day registrants be required to provide photo identification plus proof of address.

“Fraud may be miniscule, but in a state that sees elections won by four and five and six votes, it’s not a large amount of voter fraud that’s needed to change elections,” Degree said on the floor.

Following the floor debate, members struck down Degree’s amendment 21-7. The Senate passed the underlying legislation, S.29, with implementation in 2017, on a voice vote. It now moves to the House.

Secretary of State Jim Condos commended the Senate for passing a measure he said would increase voter turnout.

“Vermonters are busy people who, while civically minded, have many other obligations,” Condos said. “Whether someone is moving the week before the election, has just turned 18, or simply forgot to register because life is busy, they should be encouraged to participate.”

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