This article by Christie Wisniewski originally appeared Oct. 29 in the Bennington Banner.
BENNINGTON — With midterm elections a week away, Vermonters are registering to vote in record numbers, but some local town clerks are noticing an uptick in duplicate registrations which may be caused by the state’s automatic voter registration.
Some towns in Bennington County are still noticing an increase in registrations, but almost all towns in the county are experiencing a high number of duplicate registrations. Some local town clerks believe this may be due to automatic voter registration at the Department of Motor Vehicles where residents updating or applying for a license can check a box that also registers them to vote.
Vermont became the fourth state to have automatic registration after former Gov. Peter Shumlin signed a bill in April 2016. Automatic registration started after the 2016 election.
Voter registration climbed to 92.5 percent of the state’s population in mid-October, reports VTDigger.
While the town of Bennington is not seeing a noticeable increase of voter registrations, Town Clerk Cassandra Barbeau has noticed “a record number” of duplicate registrations submitted through the Secretary of State My Voter page.
“What I believe is happening is if a person has been on our checklist for a very long time, they registered prior to the requirement of supplying a date of birth and drivers license number,” Barbeau said. “So they go on the system and enter that information and there is no match, so they register again.”
Barbeau encourages anyone with questions about voter registration to contact the town clerk’s office.
Read full story at the Bennington Banner.
(Fair use with written permission from the New England Newspapers Inc.)