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Liveblog For Vermont's 2020 General Election

A person in a face shield, rubber gloves and a cloth face mask wipes down a voting booth with the word vote on the side
Elodie Reed
/
VPR File
Ballot clerk Madeline Beede sanitizes a voting booth in the Washington, Vt. town offices on Tuesday, Nov. 3. Election officials there said they were being careful after a couple in town posted on Facebook that they had tested positive for COVID-19.

Election Day was Tuesday, Nov. 3, though a lot of the action happened before the actual day. According to the Vermont Secretary of State, as of Nov. 2, 260,142 people returned their ballots early, a record-breaking number equivalent to 81% of the turnout for the 2016 general election.

Bookmark this page and keep checking back for on-the-ground reports from VPR staff.

Looking for results? Find statewide results here and national results here.

Wednesday, Nov. 4

7:25 p.m. 

Vermont Republican party officials say they think Gov. Phil Scott's large margin of victory Tuesday was due to voter approval of his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Based on unofficial results, Scott defeated his Democratic opponent David Zuckerman by roughly 40 percentage points.

GOP political director Paul Dame says he thinks the Scott administration's strategies to contain the spread of the coronavirus was a huge factor in this race:

“You don't usually think of public health as being in the top three campaign issues, but that's what it was this year, and that was what Vermonters used to guide their thoughts on the voting,” Dame said.

Unlike many other states, Vermont has avoided widespread outbreaks of COVID-19.

- Bob Kinzel

7:22 p.m.

Unofficial results from Tuesday’s election indicate that House Speaker Mitzi Johnson has lost her seat in the Vermont House of Representatives.

Johnson says she’ll request a recount, and that she wants to stay on as speaker if she ultimately wins.

But she says House lawmakers may need to elect a new speaker in January.

“And so I’m perfectly comfortable with the caucus having other conversations so that they can move forward,” she said.

Johnson has previously faced tight races in her six-town district in northwest Vermont.

The Vermont Republican Party called her loss on Tuesday a “massive downfall” for the Democratic majority in Montpelier.

- Peter Hirschfeld

More from VPR: Reporter Debrief: Speaker's Race Headed To Recount, Scott's Big Win

6:12 p.m.

Vermont's Secretary of State says the change to significantly more voting by mail this year went fairly smoothly.

Legs and feet poking out of a voter booth in a gym
Credit Elodie Reed / VPR
A voter in Williamstown on Tuesday.

For the first time, the state mailed every active, registered voter a ballot in the mail, due to the pandemic.

Secretary of State Jim Condos says his office will present the Legislature with the pros and cons of making the system permanent – including cost.

"A lot of people think that voting by mail is cheaper than having in person voting, but it really isn't, because you're pre-paying the postage,” he said.

Condos says the Legislature must ultimately decide whether to continue universal vote-by-mail in future elections.

Read/hear the full story.

- Henry Epp 

5:03 p.m. 

Vermonters are gathering around the state today, in “Protect the Results” rallies, calling for every vote in the 2020 Presidential Election to be counted. 

Nearly two dozen organizations, led by the Vermont Public Interest Research Group and Rights & Democracy, are uniting for the rallies.  

They come as President Trump is calling for a halt to some vote counting and mounting legal challenges to mail in voting in some states.  

Complete election results are not expected for days, as some states continue to count mail-in ballots due to the pandemic.

- Karen Anderson

More from VPR: Among Dubious Claims Of 'Rigged' Election, Vt. Officials Say Results Will Stand

4:03 p.m.

Democrat Molly Gray will be Vermont's next lieutenant governor, according to unofficial returns. Her Republican opponent, Scott Milne, has conceded.

Gray told Vermont Edition that one of her primary initiatives will be to implement better broadband, giving all Vermonters access to the Internet.

“We've asked our teachers, our educators in the spring to move everything to online learning,” she said. “We've asked people to do remote work. But that's only worked for parts of the state where that's possible."

(Editor's note: This brief originally included an incorrect line about how many Vermonters don't have broadband. Some 71,000 addresses don't have access to the federal definition of broadband).

- Ruby Smith

More from VPR: Schools Start In Four Weeks. The State Is Scrambling To Set Up Broadband For Students

3:55 p.m.

Taylor Small won one of Winooski's two seats in the Vermont House Tuesday, running as a Progressive-Democrat. Her win was historic, as she is the first openly transgender lawmaker in Vermont.

Small told Vermont Edition she has an idea of what legislation she wants to focus on in her first year; the first being health equity and access.

“I want to see Vermont move in a direction where we have health insurance not tied to employment, so that folks truly have access to health care and know that health care is a human right rather than a privilege that is afforded to some,” she said.

Small says the lens she is able to bring as a trans person will help her write new legislation and focus on marginalized communities in Vermont.

Read/here the full interview here.

- Emily Aiken

2:15 p.m.

Vermont Republican Party officials say the results of Tuesday's election will make it more difficult for House Democrats to override a gubernatorial veto in the 2021 session.

Based on unofficial results, House Republicans had a net gain of three seats including the one held by Democratic Speaker Mitzi Johnson.

Although the Democrats still have a very large majority in the House, GOP political director Paul Dame says the new composition means it will be harder for the Democrats to gather the votes needed to override a possible veto by Gov. Phil Scott on most issues.

“Our messaging going into the last two weeks of the campaign was basically, ‘If you like Gov. Scott, give him a few more Republicans to work with that can help move his agenda forward,’” Dame said. “And it's looks like Vermonters responded well to that.”

The final makeup of the House is still uncertain because it's likely there will be recounts in a number of close races.

- Bob Kinzel

Find more statewide results here.

11:49 a.m.

Former Vice President Joe Biden won Vermont with 65% of the vote – that’s 10 points higher than what Hilary Clinton got in 2016.

The reason for that gap might be due to far fewer people voting for third party candidates this year.

Nearly 13% of votes cast in the 2016 general election went to candidates other than Donald Trump or Hilary Clinton. That included more than 18,000 write-in votes for Sen. Bernie Sanders.

This year, only about 3% of people cast ballots for candidates other than Biden or Trump, according to unofficial results from the Secretary of State.

Libertarian Jo Jorgensen got the most votes of any third party candidate – about 3,500, which amounts to 1% of the statewide total.

- Liam Elder-Connors

11:44 a.m.

Former Vice President Joe Biden easily won Vermont’s three electoral college votes Tuesday night. But more than 100,000 Vermonters cast their ballot for President Donald Trump.

Trump’s proportion of the vote and the places he carried are very similar to the 2016 results.

In 2020 and 2016, Trump got around 100,000 votes – about 30% of the total number of ballots cast in Vermont. In both elections, most of his support came from towns along the Canadian border in Franklin County and the Northeast Kingdom.

Towns like Derby and Highgate actually saw more support for Trump in 2020 compared to 2016.

But Trump did lose a few northern towns this year – like Alburg, Swanton, Isle La Motte and Lemington – that he carried in 2016.

- Liam Elder-Connors

Bookmark this page for national results from the 2020 General Election.

8:42 a.m.

A record number of Vermonters cast ballots in yesterday’s election — more than 354,000 people voted, according to unofficial results from the Secretary of State.

The previous turnout record of about 326,000 was set in 2008, when President Barack Obama won his first term.

But unlike 2008, this year’s turnout was driven by a high number of mail-in votes. All registered voters were sent a ballot in the mail due to concerns about the coronavirus. By Monday, more than 260,000 Vermonters had already voted.   

- Liam Elder-Connors

8:39 a.m.

Unofficial results show leader of Vt. House Progressive caucus has lost re-election

The leader of the Progressive caucus in the Vermont House of Representatives lost his re-election bid last night.

Rutland-Bennington Rep. Robin Chesnut-Tangerman, a Progressive and Democrat, lost to Republican Sally Achey by 32 votes. (Editor's note: This number was previously incorrectly reported).

Chesnut-Tangerman told VTDigger that’s he’s considering asking for a recount, but he said wouldn’t make the decision on election night.

- Liam Elder-Connors

8:21 a.m.

Chittenden County poised to elect the first woman of color to serve in the Vermont Senate

Residents in Chittenden County will continue to send six Democrats to the state Senate.

The new delegation includes Kesha Ram, the first woman of color to be elected to that chamber.

Democratic Congressman Peter Welch offered Ram his congratulations on Twitter late Tuesday night.

Newcomer Thomas Chittenden was the top vote-getter among the winners.

The four incumbents on the ballot, Phil Baruth, Ginny Lyons, Chris Pearson and Michael Sirotkin, all won re-election.

Yesterday’s contest marks the last time voters in the state's largest county will be faced with such a large field. The county’s Senate delegation will be broken up during re-districting next year.

- Liam Elder-Connors

8:03 a.m.

In Grand Isle-Chittenden, Johnson likely to call for a recount

House Speaker Mitzi Johnson appears to have narrowly lost her re-election bid, but the Grand Isle Democrat did not concede Tuesday night.

Two people hold campaign signs in the snow in South Hero
Credit Abagael Giles / VPR
Vermont Speaker of the House Mitzi Johnson holds a campaign sign early Tuesday alongside fellow South Hero resident Mark Kennedy, who was supporting Democratic Grand Isle Chittenden District candidate Andy Julow.

Unofficial results show incumbent Rep. Leland Morgan and his nephew Michael Morgan, both Republicans from Milton, won — though Johnson is only 18 votes behind Michael Morgan.

Seven Days reports Johnson intends to seek a recount. In a statement, she says she “wanted to ensure every vote is counted and that we have clarity on the outcome of this election.”

In Rutland, incumbent senators win re-election

Two Republicans and a Democrat will represent Rutland County in the state senate. Incumbents Cheryl Hooker, a Democrat, and Brian Collamore, a Republican, both won re-election.

Republican John Terenzini came out of a crowded field of 10 candidates to win the third spot in the delegation. That seat opened up after the incumbent decided not to run.

In Stowe House race, Republican incumbent Scheurmann wins re-election

Stowe Republican Heidi Scheurermann won re-election to the Vermont House of Representatives last night.

Scheuermann, a 14-year incumbent, beat Democratic challenger Jo Sabel Courtney by about 500 votes.

Republican newcomer wins Essex-Orleans Senate seat

Incumbent Sen. John Rodgers finished last in a five-person race for the two seats in the Essex-Orleans Senate delegation.

Democrat Robert Starr, the other incumbent, won re-election with about 21% of the vote.

Rodgers, a Democrat, ran as an Independent after missing the deadline to file for the Democratic Primary earlier this year. He only received about 12% of the vote Tuesday.

Republican newcomer Russ Ingalls nabbed the Northeast Kingdom district's second Senate seat, with about 19% of the vote.

- Liam Elder-Connors

7:57 a.m.

Democrats score victories in races for statewide executive offices

In the race for Vermont’s statewide executive offices, Democratic incumbents scored victories at the ballot box Tuesday

In the race for Secretary of State, Jim Condos handily won re-election over three challengers with 58% of the vote. Attorney General TJ Donovan won a third term in office with 63% of votes. And in the state treasurer’s race, Democrat Beth Pearce was re-elected 53% of the vote.

And Doug Hoffer won re-election as auditor of accounts, garnering 72% ballots cast.

Find more statewide results here.

- Matthew Smith

7:30 a.m.

Essex-Westford House seat will likely go to gun control advocate

An upset in the race for the Essex-Westford House seat will send a gun control advocate to the statehouse.

Incumbent Republican Bob Bancroft lost his seat to Democratic challenger Alyssa Black Tuesday by ten points at the polls.

Black’s son died by suicide in 2018, just hours after buying a gun. She became a strong advocate for gun control measures, including a 24-hour waiting period for new gun purchases. The issue inspired her bid for office.

Black drew about 14,000 votes, defeating Bancroft by some 300 votes.

- Matthew Smith

6:50 a.m.

Browning unseated

Two Democrats will represent the Arlington-Manchester area in the Vermont House — as an Independent has lost her reelection bid.

Democrats Kathleen James and Seth Bongartz took the two Bennington House seats, with both getting about 29% of the vote.

Independent Cynthia Browning lost her re-election bid with less than 23% of the vote.

Browning, formerly a Democrat, drew criticism from her House colleagues in March after calling for a quorum as the coronavirus pandemic was just hitting the state.

That required more than 70 House lawmakers to come to the Statehouse to vote in person.

Bongartz said Browning’s quorum call was one reason he entered the race.

Find more Vermont House and Senate results here.

- Matthew Smith

6:05 a.m.

The Associated Press still has not called the lieutenant governor's race, but reports Gray has a 7.5-point lead over Republican Scott Milne, with 99.64% of precincts reporting.

- Abagael Giles

12:30 a.m. 

Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Molly Gray pulled ahead of Republican challenger Scott Milne Tuesday night, and Milne conceded.

The Associated Press has still not officially called the race with 92% of districts reporting.

- Elodie Reed

Tuesday, Nov. 3

10:07 p.m. 

Republican Gov. Phil Scott has won a third term in office, beating Democratic challenger Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman.

With over half of all districts reporting, Scott leads Zuckerman with 68% of the vote, to Zuckerman's 27%. Zuckerman conceded, and Scott delivered a taped victory speech from his motorcycle garage.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U60vV77K0js&feature=emb_title

Former Vice President Joe Biden easily beat President Donald Trump in Vermont, capturing the state's three electoral college votes. The Associated Press called the race just after polls closed at 7 p.m.

And Democrat Molly Gray leads Republican Scott Milne in the race for lieutenant governor, 51% to 44% with 56% of districts reporting.

In other statewide races, Rep. Peter Welch has won an eighth term in Congress, beating Republican Miriam Berry.

All other incumbent statewide officials are leading their respective races by wide margins: Treasurer Beth Pearce, Secretary of State Jim Condos, Auditor Doug Hoffer and Attorney General TJ Donovan are all on track towards re-election.

- Henry Epp

9:25 p.m.

Vermont has elected its first openly transgender lawmaker.

A woman holding a blue, pink and white sign reading vote taylor small for state rep
Credit Liam Elder-Connors / VPR
Taylor Small stands outside the polls in Winooski on Election Day.

Progressive Taylor Small won one of Winooski's two seats in the Vermont House, and she says the state needs to have a legislature that looks more like the people it serves.

"So I'm grateful to be serving Winooski, one of our most diverse cities here in the state, and know there is more that we can do to make sure that our Legislature is truly focusing on those most impacted in moving forward with new legislation,” Small said.

- Henry Epp

8:45 p.m.

The Associated Press has called Vermont's gubernatorial race for incumbent Republican Phil Scott:

8:15 p.m. 

Voters in Winooski Tuesday approved a charter change to allow all residents to vote in local elections, regardless of their citizenship.

Voters decided 2,479 to 999 to pass the measure, which will allow people who are legal residents, but not U.S. citizens, to vote on city issues, like the school budget.

Winooski is home to many New American families, and Liz Edsell, chair of the charter change committee, says this change will give hundreds of Winooski residents the right to vote.

“People who live here, own homes, pay taxes, work, send their kids to our school, who don’t have a say in who’s on the school board, what the school budgets are, the city council, city government,” Edsell said.

The charter change still needs to approval from the state Legislature.

- Liam Elder-Connors

7:24 p.m. 

The Associated Press has called two races already in Vermont. First, for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden:

And for Democratic U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, who will serve an eighth term:

7 p.m.

Polls are closed in Vermont! 

Two people in masks in a high school gym by voting booths
Credit Angela Evancie / VPR
Jazmine Graves and Emanuel Eyssallenne of Wilder cast their ballots at Hartford High School on Election Day.

Keep an eye on statewide and national results, which VPR is carrying from the Associated Press:

- Elodie Reed

6:30 p.m.

COVID-19 changed the way many people voted this year. But it also changed where they voted.

In Hardwick, Town Clerk Alberta Miller says officials decided to use the local fire department as a polling station on Tuesday. It’s the first time in her 16 years on the job that people have cast ballots at the firehouse.

“In the past, it’s always been at the Hardwick Elementary School,” she said. “But due to the COVID situation, it wasn’t really the best idea to have extra people in and out of that building.”

Miller says the fire department was more conducive to physical distancing than the school would have been.

- Peter Hirschfeld

6:14 p.m.

Of the 871 people registered to vote in the town of Washington on Tuesday, more than usual were exercising their constitutional right after receiving a ballot in the mail, according to local official Harry Roush. He said 57% returned their ballots early.

“And as far as I’m concerned, the more voters I see, the better off it is,” he added.

A man in flannel and a baseball cap holds an envelope in front of two people in face masks sitting at a table
Credit Elodie Reed / VPR
Washington ballot clerks Harry Roush and Madeline Beede help resident David Reed process his ballot on Tuesday.

As the moderator for both Washington and the joint school district with the town of Orange, Roush said he generally gets frustrated with the level of local election participation.

“Because you’re talking about a $2 million budget that maybe 20 people are voting on?” he said. “It’s ridiculous.”

A hand puts paper into a box that says deposit voter ballot here
Credit Elodie Reed / VPR
A voter drops a ballot into the official ballot box in the Washington town offices on Tuesday.

As of 2 p.m. Tuesday, Roush and other election officials estimated about 500 Washington residents had voted so far.

- Elodie Reed

5:38 p.m.

Amid nationwide concerns about voter intimidation at the polls today, nonpartisan "voter protection volunteers" turned out across the Upper Valley to foster a welcoming presence at polling places.

The local chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice, or SURJ, worked with Rights and Democracy Vermont and New Hampshire to organize volunteers in both states. Kendra Colburn was in Hartford.

"We're here to observe, to offer support should voters need it, and just to be a positive presence at the polls today," Colburn said.

People stand next to a sign reading were you unable to vote? do you need anything?
Credit Angela Evancie / VPR
Kendra Colburn of Hartford, left, and Lucia Gagliardone of Sharon act as nonpartisan voter protection volunteers at Hartford High School on Tuesday. The Upper Valley chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice, or SURJ, worked with Rights and Democracy Vermont and New Hampshire to organize local volunteers in both states.

Colburn and other volunteers had homemade "Voter Protection" signs pinned to their coats -- though as of early afternoon they hadn't had any issues. (Other than a few hail storms.)

"Mostly people just want to know where to go and how to drop off their ballots," Colburn said. "It's been great. [It's] been quiet and positive today."

Colburn is on the SURJ steering committee, but today was her first time volunteering in this way. The same went for Lucia Gagliardone, a recent Bowdoin grad now back at home in Sharon.

"It feels really exciting to be here and to be doing something," Gagliardone said. "I think that this is a pretty nerve-racking election, so just showing the community that there are people here that sort of know what the rights are and can help them out, and be just, like, a friendly presence, feels like a really important act."

Volunteers with the effort also turned out in Hanover, Claremont, and Lebanon.

- Angela Evancie

VPR is partnering with Propublica's "Electionland" project to monitor any voter access issues. Submit a tip here.

5:08 p.m.

Gov. Phil Scott has broken with the Republican Party and voted for Democrat Joe Biden for President.

Speaking to reporters after casting his ballot Tuesday, Scott said it was the first time he'd voted for a Democrat for president.

Scott has long criticized President Donald Trump, and had said he would not be voting for him, but had not said until today who he would vote for.

- Henry Epp

3:54 p.m.

A friendly reminder from the Vermont Secretary of State's Office:

And when it comes to results...

VPR will be following NPR's lead on reporting election results from the Associated Press, a process explained here.

- Abagael Giles

3:38 p.m.

As in-person voting got underway in Vermont this morning, Rutland resident Mark Frazee said he weighed concerns about voting-by-mail against worries about COVID-19. In the end he decided go to his local polling place to cast his ballot.

“I also came early, so I tried to beat the crowds. Inside it did feel – it felt fine,” he said.

Frazee said he voted for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and said this election felt very important to him.

“I feel that our country is so divided right now and I don't feel that our president has done enough to sway people to come together,” he said. “And, I am very nervous about the direction of the country right now. So I want to see some change.”

City officials in Rutland said they expect to see a record 80% turnout Tuesday.

- Nina Keck

3:12 p.m.

“We love Trump because of what he’s doing,” said Rutland resident Dolores Pedone. “We want our state back to where it used to be decades ago.”

She and her husband John voted early at the Godnick Senior Center in Rutland.

“Sometimes Trump says things that I don’t like. I don’t like him picking on people, but that’s the way he navigates,” said John Pedone, adding, “I do like the fact that the country is stronger than it’s ever been. He’s going after the American way of life and making it great.

A woman in a black jacket and man in blue wear red Trump masks
Credit Nina Keck / VPR
Dolores and John Pedone of Rutland said they planned to vote for President Donald Trump on Tuesday.

“My vote for Trump is more against the socialist agenda that’s coming toward the White House right now. I know Joe Biden is supposed to be a moderate, but he’s being run by the Bernie Sanders and the Kamala Harrises of this country and I’m just very nervous to go that way. I don’t want to be in Venezuela.”

The Pedones said they believe Trump will win resoundingly. The couple said if he does lose, they believe he will leave office graciously.

- Nina Keck

2:46 p.m.

- Elodie Reed

12:55 p.m.

Woman in gray sweater and mask stands with woman in pink shirt with mask before trays of baked goods.
Credit Nina Keck / VPR
Alberta Dezero, left, and her daughter Kelly Shaw, right, handed out refreshments to early morning voters at Rutland City's Ward 4 polling place, Calvary Bible School.

Despite an unprecedented number of mail-in ballots being cast in this year's General Election, Vermonters are turning out at polling places today. Steve Reynolds has been working the Rutland City polls for 16 years.

“Turn out today has been a steady rate from the get-go at seven. And this kind of election usually brings a lot of people out,” Reynolds said.

Man in green mask and hat with mask sits at table with woman in searsucker and blue gloves.
Credit Nina Keck / VPR
Rick Wormwood and Jane Kendall, two election day veterans, work the polls this morning in Rutland City at Calvary Bible Church, the Ward 4 polling place.

That included an older gentlemen who Reynolds said registered to vote for the first time.

“He was 76-, 77-years-old and said this is the first time he's voted in in his life. And we had some people that haven't voted in, you know, like probably three or four elections,” Reynolds said. “So it'll be interesting to see to see what the numbers come out to be at the end of the night.”

Rutland City officials say they expect an 80% turnout for this election.

More from VPR: ‘I Figured It Was My Time To Step Up’: First Time Poll Workers Prepare For Election Day

- Nina Keck

12:35 p.m.

At Hartford High School, masks for lend blew in the breeze at midday Tuesday.

- Angela Evancie

10:12 a.m.

According to St. Albans city clerk Curry Galloway, when polls opened on Election Day morning, the city had already receieved more than 1,700 mail-in ballots. That means about 30% of the city's registered voters submitted ballots in advance of Election Day.

However, others voted in person today.

"People are dropping them off in our drop box still, they're handing them to us, they're going in and voting still," Galloway said. "So it's a pretty mellow morning, honestly. We'll see how it goes for the rest of the day."

Three men hold campaign signs in front of a red brick building
Credit Liam Elder-Connors / VPR
In St. Albans, local candidates for the Vermont House Casey Toof, David Glidden and Michael McCarthy stood outside the city's polling place.

- Liam Elder-Connors

9 a.m.

In Winooski, people lined up outside of the senior center to vote in person.

All registered voters in Vermont received ballots in the mail due to concerns about the pandemic, and a record number of people - 26,000 - voted before Election Day.

But not everyone opted to do so. some people filled out their ballots at home and are dropping them off at the polls today, while others, like Winooski resident Kenna Rewcastle, voted in person.

"I don't know, it feels more real, like I'm taking some real action," Rewcastle said of the choice. "I don't know. Slipping it into a ballot box felt very anti-climatic, so I just thought I'd show up in person."

Hear Liam share more about what he saw at the polls Tuesday and how that compared with what he saw in 2016 on Vermont Edition.

- Liam Elder-Connors

8 a.m.

Early Tuesday morning, Molly Gray, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor and State Treasurer Beth Pearce were greeting voters at the Burlington Electric Department on Pine Street, the city's Ward 5 polling place.

Ward 2 voters headed to H.O. Wheeler School in the city's Old North End to cast their vote - either in person or by dropping off their ballot.

More than 260,000 people voted prior to Tuesday, according to the Secretary of State. That’s about 80% of all ballots cast during the 2016 election.

Burlington resident Brianna King filled out her ballot at home and dropped it off at her polling place Tuesday.

“I did not feel good about the mail-in, it just made me nervous with the way everything is being mailed nowadays not just ballots,” King said. “In general, everything is pretty delayed, so I was always going to use a drop box.”

Polls in Vermont close at 7 p.m.

- Liam Elder-Connors

7:20 a.m.

Early morning voters in Rutland County faced slick road conditions as they headed for the polls, but turnout was still strong.

There was a steady stream of folks heading in, but not as many as one would normally expect for a presidential election. Though the polling place was humming and busy through the 8 o'clock hour.

A little after 7 a.m. Rutland City Ward 1 Clerk Hurley Cavacas was checking voters out. He said he expects overall voter turnout to be at around 80% in his ward this election.

Man wearing a green sweater checks a voter in at Godnick Senior Center.
Credit Nina Keck / VPR
Rutland City Ward 1 Clerk Hurley Cavacas checks voters out a little after 7 a.m. at Godnick Senior Center in Rutland, the busiest ward in town.

Here's what he had to say about turnout among early morning voters in Rutland City:

hurley-cavacas-rutland-keck-20201103.mp3

- Nina Keck

7:15 a.m. 

In South Hero, a few voters trickled in to cast their votes in the town office building on Rte. 2.

Town Clerk Janet Yates checked temperatures and managed a sign-in sheet to collect the names and contact information for those who entered the small building.

Poll worker wearing a mask sits behind plexiglass
Credit Abagael Giles / VPR
Poll worker Anne Quinn of South Hero directs voters to private booths, handing them their ballots from behind Plexiglass in the South Hero town office building.

Outside the town offices, Vermont Speaker of the House Mitzi Johnson, D-South Hero, held a campaign sign alongside fellow South Hero resident Mark Kennedy.

Johnson, who represents the Grand Isle-Chittenden-1 District in the Vermont Legislature, is running for re-election in a contested race against Republican Michael Morgan of Milton, who is running alongside incumbent and fellow Republican and Milton resident Leland Morgan. Democrat Andy Julow of North Hero is also running alongside Johnson.

Find more information about your polling place in our voter guide.

- Abagael Giles

Monday, Nov. 2

6:30 p.m.

According to the final campaign finance reports submitted before Election Day, Republican Gov. Phil Scott raised more money than his Democratic challenger, Lt Gov. David Zuckerman, in the last two weeks.

Scott took in over $95,000 dollars between Oct. 15 and Oct. 30. Zuckerman raised just shy of $55,000 in that period.

However, Zuckerman's campaign spent more money than Scott's – dedicating $86,000 to TV ads, yard signs and staff salaries, among other items. Scott meanwhile spent $32,000 – about a third of which was spent on online advertising.

Meanwhile, Republican Scott Milne spent over three times as much money as Democrat Molly Gray over the last two weeks of the campaign for lieutenant governor.

Milne's campaign spent $160,000 in the last half of October. That spending was fueled by his personal money. The candidate loaned his campaign $140,000 in late October, according to campaign finance filings released Friday.

Gray meanwhile, raised just under $30,000 in the same time period, and spent just over $50,000. Both candidates spent thousands on TV, web and print advertising.

- Henry Epp

Find candidate interviews from VPR in our voter guide.

6:15 p.m.

On Tuesday, Montpelier will be the first city in the country to test out a new kind of technology for elections security.

Montpelier City Clerk John Odum said the pilot project uses a blockchain system to take a digital fingerprint of voter data.

“So then, what we can do is retake the digital fingerprint of our data, compare it to the secure one we stored, and if it has changed in any way, I know [as clerk] that means somebody’s been tampering with my data,” Odum said.

He said the technology is designed to thwart hackers who might try to infiltrate voter databases.

The pilot project is being overseen by the SICPA Corporation, which is an international elections security firm.

- Peter Hirschfeld

6 p.m.

Haven't filled out or returned your ballot yet? That's OK! You can bring it to the polls on Election Day. Check out VPR's voter guide for instructions and a map of polling locations. And if you're a voter with a disability, NPR offers some advice for what to do if you encounter barriers as you exercise your constitutional right.

Feeling anxious for election results? NPR's Domenico Montanaro has this helpful Twitter thread explaining how we actually never know the full results on Election Night, and why things will probably take a little longer this year (in a very OK, legitimate way!) due to the high volume of early voting because of the pandemic.

VPR will be following NPR's lead on reporting election results from the Associated Press, a process explained here.

- Elodie Reed

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