Vermont Business MagazineVermont Secretary of State Jim Condos announced Thursday the roll-out of a new online voter registration system, “My Voter Page” online voter resource tool, and a new statewide voter checklist and elections management system to be used by all town and city clerks in Vermont.
“Government is strengthened when more Vermonters engage in the electoral process and vote,” said Governor Peter Shumlin. “This is just the latest effort by Secretary Condos to ensure there are no barriers to participation in our democracy. Vermont’s democracy will be a better place for it.”
Secretary Condos adds, “I am very excited to announce the roll-out of Vermont’s first online voter registration system. One of my primary goals as Vermont’s chief election officer is to increase voter participation. I am confident that our new online voter registration system and the ‘My Voter Page’ tool will increase engagement with the electoral process across the state and make it easier than ever for all eligible Vermonters to participate in our elections.”
Secretary Condos described the new system as being comprised of three basic elements:
- Elections Management System (EMS) – includes a new statewide voter checklist and other resources and tools to be used by town and city clerks across Vermont to conduct all of their election related business – from registering voters, to processing absentee ballot requests, to entering election results;
- New Online Voter Registration Tool - allows all eligible Vermonters to submit their voter registration application online anytime and anywhere they can access the internet; and
- New “My Voter Page” – online resource that allows every registered voter to login and have access to a unique, voter-specific web page where they can request an absentee ballot, track its status, update their voter registration record, find their polling place, view a sample ballot, and much more.
Since taking office in 2011, Secretary Condos has modernized the IT solutions and filing systems across the Secretary of State’s office – from online business filings, to online professional licensing, to online campaign finance and lobbyist disclosure systems. This new EMS and online voter registration tool represent the latest step in Secretary Condos’ ongoing effort to make it easier for all Vermonters to take advantage of the services and information provided by the Secretary’s office.
Working closely with our systems developer, PCC Technology Group, over the past two years, the Elections Division has overseen the roll-out of our highly successful online filing systems for all campaign finance and lobbying disclosure related transactions. These systems have dramatically increased access to real-time information for all Vermonters, furthering Secretary Condos’ over-arching goal of bringing greater transparency to all government related activities.
“I am proud of the work I have done to modernize the systems in my office, but I am especially excited to announce the implementation of this online voter registration tool, as I consider it one of my most important responsibilities to foster increased participation in the electoral process in Vermont,” said Secretary Condos. “Voting lies at the very core of our democracy and is a fundamental right protected by both the Vermont and United States Constitution. This new online registration tool and ‘My Voter Page’ resource will make it easier for all eligible Vermonters to exercise that right. This is positive progress that Vermont can be proud of.”
The new system will increase participation by expanding opportunities to register to vote while providing a more accurate, up-to-date, and secure statewide voter checklist. Online voter registration will provide access to this process without the burden of missing time from work, childcare, and all of our other day-to-day responsibilities.
“We applaud the Governor and Secretary of State’s leadership in advancing online voter registration and other technical upgrades,” said David Becker, director of The Pew Charitable Trusts’ election initiatives. “By upgrading the state’s election technology and establishing a new system where voters may go online to register, both election administrators and voters will benefit.”
“Not just in Vermont but nationwide, states are recognizing the cost savings and efficiency that come with registering voters online, and other technical improvements to their voter registration and election systems,” said Becker.
The features and enhancements in this system will result in more accurate, reliable, and consistent election related information at all levels – from candidate entry and ballot creation, to absentee ballot processing, to voter registration tracking, to entry of election results. Many paper-based processes have been converted to electronic processes, ensuring more accurate and timely production of information that can be used in many ways before, during, and after an election has occurred.
Perhaps the most significant development that the new EMS will implement is the electronic transmission of voter related records submitted at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
Where the delivery of voter records in the past could take days, weeks, or even months to travel from the DMV to the Secretary of State’s Office and then out to the appropriate towns, this process will now happen on a nightly basis, ensuring that changes made to voter records at the DMV will be reflected on the voter registration rolls in nearly real time.
“I could not be more happy or proud of my Elections Division than I am today, rolling out a new online voter registration system and ‘My Voter Page’ for all registered Vermont voters,” said Secretary Condos. “I believe these new tools represent a significant step forward for the State, and bring Vermont to the forefront of modern elections administration.”