Primary Day in Vermont: What’s bringing people to the polls

Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos says election turnout is largely driven by how contentious races are that year
Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 8:46 AM EDT
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SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermonters across the state are voting in Tuesday’s primary election.

Secretary of State Jim Condos says turnout often comes down to how hot the races are.

“A lot of the interest in primaries depends on who the candidates are and how competitive are the races,” said Condos, D-Vt. Secretary of State.

This year, Condos says voters have what he calls a once-in-a-generation change.

“A U.S. Senate seat is open, a U.S. House seat is open; you have contested primaries on both of those,” said Condos. “The lieutenant governor race is heated. The secretary of state race has a primary; those are things that drive.”

Turnout History:

  • 2008 had the lowest turnout, with only 8.5% of registered voters participating in the primary election.
  • 2010 had several contested seats and 24% of registered voters turned out during the primary.
  • 2018 was a pre-COVID year and a nonpresidential year. Turnout was 22.5%. This is the year experts are using to gauge interest Tuesday.
  • 2020 was a pandemic year, driven by early and absentee voting. Turnout was 34.5%. That’s the highest in the last 20 elections.

Condos says if people are given a convenient way to vote, more people will do it.

“Provide convenience and options to people to be able to cast those ballots, meaning whether they do it by mail, in-person, at the clerk’s office,” said Condos. “Those are all things that our office and what I have tried to do is remove any obstructions and barriers to allow people to vote.”

Condos says he supports a national holiday for election days.

All Vermont polling places will be open by 10 a.m. Tuesday and close at 7 p.m.

When you arrive at your polling place, you’ll be given a Democratic, a Republican and a Progressive ballot. You fill out one and give back two.

Click here for a list of voting rules, including same-day registration and asking for a new ballot.

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