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Vermonters Have Different Options Of How To Vote

Tuesday February 13, 2018

By Cookie Steponaitis

With Town Meeting Day rapidly approaching many people pause to reflect on the issues up for their consideration as tax payers and citizens. School budget, tax rates, changes in zoning, designation of repairs to roads and much more are upcoming topics of debate and to be put to the vote.  While some will head to town meeting and vote at the polls, many Vermonters find it difficult to get in to vote and often leave the decisions to the voices of those present. That no longer needs to be the case.
    Brought on line in Vermont before the last national election, My Vote Page was the creation of Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos and his staff in the Vermont Election Division to digitize and offer easier access to voting in local, state and national elections. Located at  https://mvp.sec.state.vt.us/  , the website allows the citizen to check with voter registration status and confirm what town they are on the roles. It allows absentee ballots to be mailed to the legal address and to provide verification of receipt by the town clerk and that your vote has indeed counted.
    Other important resources of My Voter Page include look up elected officials, find poll locations, see sample ballots for the upcoming elections, take a legal oath and enter a challenge letter response. There is also a lot of data and current information on the site and it serves Vermonters for all levels of the election process.
    While the My Voter Page does not let people register to vote via the computer, that must still be done at the Town Clerk in the city/town of residence, it brings the power of the vote into the hands of people no matter their schedule. In addition, it is possible to still register in a town to vote on election day, but the person must present a valid Vermont Driver’s License and a utility bill that has their home address on it.
    Voting has been a part of the American framework since 1777, but has undergone key changes since its inception. In 1777, state legislatures controlled the right to vote and it was reserved for 21-year-old white males who owned property. Change began with the introduction of the 15th Amendment in 1870 with on paper removed the issue of race being a condition before someone could vote. In 1920, women were added to the roles following the one-hundred-year suffrage battle and the passing of the 19th Amendment. The 26th Amendment defined the voting age of 18 and the Voting Act of 1965 continued the evolution of who controls and where does power rest when discussing the right to vote. In 2013 a landmark Supreme Court case Shelby County v. Holder, looked at the constitutionality of two parts of the 1965 Voting Right Act and voted 5-4 issues surrounding the formula that determines which jurisdictions are to be monitored more carefully due to history of discrimination in voting.
    Even though Americans have a plentiful supply of opinions on issues of importance, there is a track record of many not having consistent numbers when it is time to vote. Getting the word out about the State of Vermont site My Vote is yet another way for Vermonters to engage in the process and commit their views to action through the vote.


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