As the United States prepares to hold a presidential election in the midst of a deadly pandemic, many states have adjusted how they are holding their elections to minimize in-person contact at the polls, including Vermont.
Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos issued a directive in late July that Vermont in 2020 will hold a universal mail-in election, meaning that all active voters will be sent mail-in ballots without needing to request them. This was done after the state legislature in June passed a law permitting universal mail-in balloting.
"Voting by mail is simple, safe and secure," Condos said at the time. "Planning for the 2020 elections, as we collectively respond to the COVID-19 health crisis, has meant accepting that for some of us, the elections process may look or feel a little different this year."
According to the directive, ballots were mailed to voters between Sept. 21 and Oct. 1. It recommends that voters mail their ballots no later than Oct. 24 to ensure that they are counted. Vermont will only count ballots received by 7 p.m. on Election Day.
There are also in-person voting options. There are drop boxes for mail ballots set up around the state, and the deadline to vote there is 7 p.m. on Election Day. Voters wishing to vote in person are told to bring their mail ballot with them, but if they do not they can still sign an affidavit saying they have not already voted to cast an in-person ballot.
If voters receive a ballot for a person who is dead or has moved they are told to contact their town so it can update the voter rolls.
"Voting someone else’s ballot is illegal and punishable by significant fines and prison time," the state's website says.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.