Jun 7, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Vermont's Republican governor signs bill expanding voting access

Photo of a sign that says "absentee ballots available" and sits on a bed of grass next to a road

Photo: Robert Nickelsberg via Getty Images

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) signed a bill Monday that expands voting rights in a move that bucks the current GOP trend.

Why it matters: Republican governors in states like Georgia and Florida have signed laws that restrict voting access in recent months. Over 100 voting restriction bills have been introduced in state legislatures this year.

The new Vermont law requires the state to send mail-in ballots to all registered voters and give voters the option to fix or "cure" a ballot if it's submitted incorrectly and considered defective.

  • The law will also allow municipalities to send mail-in ballots for local races.

What he's saying: Scott said he signed the law "because I believe making sure voting is easy and accessible, and increasing voter participation, is important."

  • "For greater consistency and to expand access further, I am asking the General Assembly to extend the provisions of this bill to primary elections, local elections and school budget votes when they return to session in January," he added.

Worth noting: Vermont officials agreed last year to send out mail-in ballots as a safety precaution against COVID, a move that proved popular. Over 75% of registered voters cast ballots early or by mail, Vermont's secretary of state told the New York Times.

The big picture: President Biden has called the GOP-led push to restrict voting access an "unprecedented assault" on the right to vote. The vice president is leading the administration's actions to protect voting rights.

Go deeper... By the numbers: States weighing voting changes

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