On April 27, 2016, Vermont became the fourth state to authorize automatic voter registration, when Gov. Peter Shumlin signed a bill that the legislature had passed with near-unanimous support. The Secretary of State’s Office implemented the system in January 2017. Eligible citizens who interact with the DMV are registered to vote or have their existing registration information updated, unless they decline. Learn more about automatic registration here.
Prior Advances in Voter Registration Modernization
This reform builds upon Vermont’s existing voter registration modernization efforts:
- Electronic Voter Registration: Vermont launched electronic voter registration at DMV offices in 2015. Information is electronically transferred from DMV offices to election officials.
- Online Voter Registration: Vermont launched online voter registration through the Secretary of State’s office in 2015. Eligible citizens can use the system to register to vote or update their registration information even if they do not have a state driver’s license or non-driver ID.
- Election Day Registration: Vermont implemented Election Day registration in 2017. Individuals may register and vote at the polls on Election Day and during the early voting period.
- Electronic Pollbooks: At least some elections jurisdictions in Vermont employ e-pollbooks to sign in voters.
Gains from Voter Registration Modernization in Vermont
- Between the launch of online voter registration in 2015 and the November 2016 election, the state received 25,413 new voter registration applications through its online portal.
- In the first sixth months of the AVR program, the state netted more than 12,000 new and updated registrations from the DMV – a 62 percent jump from the first half of 2016, when the DMV processed just 7,600 registrations.