Secretary of State Jim Condos (Democrat) is proposing that Vermont allow so-called "mail-in-voting." Ballots would be mailed to all registered voters in Vermont. Republican Governor Phil Scott has rightly pushed back with his concerns — and many other concerns have been shared in the numerous comments to this and other articles on the subject. And, yes, voter fraud is real!
Governor Scott points out that the November election is nearly half a year away, and to decide now about the impact of the virus on the election is entirely premature. Businesses will adjust and be open to the public and voting at the polls can as well. How about considering staggering the election over several days to accomplish social distancing or providing special times for the elderly and immune compromised people to vote? If grocery stores can do it, so can our government. There are many other good ideas out there as well, I am sure. Share yours with the governor on his website comment line.
Vermont voters who cannot make it to or who feel uncomfortable in being at the polls, can request an absentee ballot. A request for a ballot can be made online, by mail, or at a town clerk's office. In this way voting can be done by mail or also can be in-person at the town clerk's office up to 45 days before an election.
Vermont, with its small state voting population, is prime country for remarkably close elections, making it particularly sensitive to any improper voting. In 2016 in a Vermont state House seat race the outcome was determined by one vote out of 2,000 votes cast. In such a race there is no room for any fraud! These same contestants, in a previous 2010 race, had their outcome also decided by one vote, with the other candidate being the winner.
Secretary Condos has previously resisted any attempts at addressing or even examining the extent of voter fraud in Vermont. Being that there are adequate means available, we must not institute an unnecessary procedure that has great potential for voter fraud. The real concern should be why Condos, the person who is responsible for the integrity of our elections, is so dismissive of any voter fraud concerns and so eager to take on a procedure fraught with danger. Third-party organizations have found Vermont's elections are at risk of integrity vulnerabilities. Serious hacking attempts have already been made against Vermont voting records. And despite the frequent talk of Condos' "plan" to sure-up Vermont's election system before the proposed mail-in voting, not much of a "plan" really exists at all.
It is also important to note that Secretary Condos is moving ahead with in-person voting for the August primaries and only wants the change for the general election. He would be calling for an immediate switch to mail-in voting for the primaries too if it were safety for the voters he was seeking. It is obvious the reason why the Democrats want mail-in voting and there is recent evidence of that. After California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) tweeted that California would be switching to mail-in ballots, Sam Donnelly, a Burlington Democratic Party delegate and former Burlington Democratic Party chair, bragged in reply, tweeting that "Biden's margins are about to go [up]." This is clearly a power-play by the Vermont Democratic Party to boost their vote counts and they have admitted it as such. It is because Republicans want and are willing to take their chances in a fair, fraud-free election, that they are in opposition.
The individuals and groups pushing the governor to adopt mail-in voting are Democrat/Progressives and include Democrat candidates for governor, Rebecca Holcombe and David Zuckerman, currently Vermont Lieutenant Governor, in addition to organizations such as VPIRG, Rights & Democracy, and many more.
If the Democrats/Progressives have their way with mail-in voting, Republicans will have to turn out voters to not only win the majority but to overcome the fraud that for certain will occur. Please support the governor in his opposition to the Condos mail-in voting scheme.
Deb Billado is chairwoman of the Vermont GOP. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of the Brattleboro Reformer.