MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Registered Vermont voters will automatically receive a ballot in mail for the November election and may return it by mail or drop it off at their town clerk's office early, or bring it to the polls on Election Day, Secretary of State Jim Condos says.

Ballots will start to be mailed on Sept. 21 and any voter who does not receive one by Oct. 1 should contact their town clerk, Condos said this week.

“Voting by mail is simple, safe and secure,” he said in a written statement. “Our office has taken the proactive steps to mail a ballot to all active, registered voters so that we can preserve the voting rights of all eligible Vermonters during a pandemic, while protecting the public health by reducing high traffic in-person voting on Election Day.”

Polling places will be operating under social distancing and sanitization guidance, he said. Voters who plan to mail in ballots are encouraged to do so at least 10 days before the Nov. 3 election to ensure they are received in time.

“The more time you leave to ensure your voted ballot is delivered in time, the better,” he said. “How you vote and return your ballot is up to you, but we are asking Vermonters to help lower the absentee ballot curve by returning their ballots as early as they feel comfortable doing so."

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