Vermont entered the US as a state officially on March 4, 1791. The state capital is Montpelier and the largest city is Burlington. Vermont is the 45th biggest state, containing 9,615 square miles. People who live in the state are known as Vermonters. The major industries in the state are dairy farming, the production of maple syrup, tourism, paper-making, electronics and tourism.
Vermont is the Presidential birthplace of Chester Arthur and Calvin Coolidge, who served as the 21st and 30th US Presidents, respectively. The highest point in the state is Mt. Mansfield, which rises 4,393 feet or almost 1,340 meters above sea level. The origin of the state name comes from the French words, “mont vert,” which mean green mountain. The state nickname, in turn, is the “Green Mountain State,” and the state song is “These Green Mountains.” The state motto is “Freedom and Unity,” a sentiment strongly reflected by the state’s allowance of felon voting rights.
Felons are still granted the right to vote if they have been convicted. Beside Maine, Vermont is the only other state in the US that gives electoral privileges to felons convicted of crimes.
Felon Voting Law in Vermont
According to an article that appeared in the Washington Times on January 28, 2006, felons from Vermont, including incarcerated individuals, have never been disenfranchised from voting since the founding of the state. However, the state does not maintain records on the number of inmates who do vote regularly.
Vermont, which has a liberal reputation with respect to voting, even permits incarcerated felons to run for political office. In fact, during 2002, one felon serving time for tax fraud in a federal facility ran against the ranking Democrat on the US Senate Judiciary Committee, Patrick Leahy.
Therefore, when it comes to enjoying civil liberties, felons from the Green Mountain state are able to exert their electoral privileges even when spending time in jail.
How a Felon in Vermont Can Restore Their Voting Rights
In Vermont, you do not need to restore your right to vote as you never lose it, even if you are convicted and incarcerated for a crime. Therefore, you don’t have to re-register to vote once you are out of prison or have served your sentence. However, you do need to be aware of the voting laws and what you need to do in order to cast a ballot.
According to the Secretary of State for Vermont, individuals may register to vote by either using an online voter registration system or by submitting the application to the city or town clerk. When completing the form, the applicant must include a state driver’s license number. If you do not have a driver’s license number or if you hold a suspended license, you can add the last four digits of your Social Security number. If you have never voted in Vermont, you are asked to take a Voter’s Oath – a legal promise that can be self-administered. The oath is featured on both paper and online applications. Once the application is filled in, it can be submitted to the clerk of the town or city where you reside. You do not have to register with a specific party in order to participate in elections in Vermont.
In order to vote in a specific election you must have completed your voter registration by 5 pm on the Wednesday before the scheduled election. The town or city clerk office is open 3 pm to 5 pm on the Wednesday that precedes the election date. If an applicant registers through the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or through another registration agency, the application should be postmarked or received at said agency before the designated Wednesday before the election date.
You are eligible to register to vote if you are a US citizen, a Vermont resident, have taken the “Voter’s Oath’ (formerly known as the “Freeman’s Oath”) and are 18 years old or older. A resident in Vermont means any individual who intends to keep a primary dwelling place in a locale indefinitely and to return to it when temporarily absent.
The law in the state provides a subjective standard, or one where the voter’s intent and behavior determines his residency status, not how many nights he annually sleeps in a city or town. Therefore, a voter who has more than one residence must choose and designate their principal dwelling place.
State law also permits an individual to stay registered in the last locale where they resided if they are living overseas, active in the military, or residing in a health care facility, such as a nursing home. Anyone who is presently living in a veteran’s home, incarcerated in a correctional facility, or attending school also falls under the residency requirement. Learn more about registration and state voter’s rights by clicking on this link.
Other Resources For Felons in Vermont
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