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August primary boasted near record high voter turnout

August 22, 2018

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont had the second-highest primary election turnout by vote count in state history last week, the secretary of state said.

More than 107,000 people voted in the Aug. 14 primary, Secretary of State Jim Condos’ office said on Tuesday.

“I think it does say that the second Tuesday of August does work,” Condos told Vermont Public Radio. “Keep in mind, we have things like early voting, which is 45 days ahead of time.”

The state, which has nearly 476,000 registered voters, started holding primary elections on the second Tuesday in August, rather than in September, in 2016. The August primaries have resulted in its two highest primary turnouts ever.

Normally we would expect a lower turnout during a midterm election primary,” Condos, a Democrat, said in a written statement. “I believe that higher than anticipated turnout this year is due in part, alongside a number of other factors, to the work we’ve done increasing access to the ballot box and decreasing roadblocks for voters through our online voter tools, automatic voter registration, same day registration and accessible voting systems.”

In last week’s contest, Christine Hallquist won the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, making her the first transgender candidate to win a nomination for governor from a major party. She faces Republican Gov. Phil Scott in the November election.

Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman, who got the Democratic nod, also received enough write-in votes for the Progressive Party nomination. The same process happened for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and state Auditor Doug Hoffer, who also ran as Democrats.

At least 250 votes are required for a candidate to win a party’s nomination as a write-in candidate.

State Sen. John Rodgers failed in his bid for a write-in campaign for the Democratic nomination for governor, motivated by his displeasure with firearms restrictions. Scott received 2,500 votes as a write-in candidate on Democratic ballots, more than Rodgers’ 1,000 votes.

And perennial political candidate H. Brooke Paige won the Republican nomination to run for six offices, including U.S. House and U.S. Senate, in an effort to preserve most of the seats for other potential GOP candidates.

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