This commentary is by outgoing Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos.
For more than 35 years, it has been my great honor to serve the People of Vermont as a public servant as: Secretary of State (12 years), State Senator (8 years), and South Burlington City Councilor (18 years).
During this time, I have always worked hard to serve Vermont’s citizens in a professional and respectful manner — striving to make our government more efficient, accessible, and transparent.
In addition to my elected positions, my decades of business experience allowed me to understand and evaluate policies and proposed legislation with a wide lens, examining how they would translate in reality and how it may affect Vermonters.
I believe the work of government should always be to improve the health, safety, and lives of all citizens while maintaining transparency and the public’s right to know.
After each election, I took an oath to uphold the Constitutions of our nation and our state, and I have worked every day to abide by those governing principles.
It has always been critically important to me that the Secretary of State’s Office operate in a non-partisan manner, and I know we have strived to conduct our work that way in service to all Vermonters.
As Vermont’s Secretary of State, I was honored to have served as:
- National Association of Secretaries of State President;
- U.S. Election Assistance Commission Board of Advisors Member;
- Council of State Governments Executive Board Member; and
- Overseas Voting Initiative for Military & Overseas citizens National Co-Chair.
I was privileged to testify before Congress on voting and election cybersecurity and bring Vermont’s approaches to the national stage. During my time as Secretary of State, Vermont’s models for elections, professional regulation, business registration, and archives & records management were nationally acclaimed as among the best in the country and an example for other states to follow.
I especially want to publicly acknowledge and thank all of my dedicated, hard-working team at the Secretary of State’s Office and especially my Deputy Secretary Chris Winters. Together, we were able to improve the operations of the office and the services we provide to Vermonters.
I am especially proud of how my team here at the Secretary of State’s Office responded during the global pandemic, keeping critical services up and running in this time of need. Despite the many challenges we:
- Led VT through a record shattering election during COVID-19 by implementing safe voting options so that Vermonters did not need to choose between their health and their right to vote;
- Led through pro-voter policies that resulted in record shattering voter turnout, for both early and total voting, in the 2022 Midterm and 2020 Presidential elections;
- Led the agency through a rapid response to implement temporary COVID-19 policy that expanded temporary licensing pathways so that VT medical facilities had additional options to meet the emergency capacity needs with qualified nurses and nursing professions during the pandemic; and
- Proposed temporary open government laws during COVID that increased remote options for municipal officials so that they could continue to work for their communities without sacrificing the public’s right to know, attend and participate.
In my 12 years as Secretary, we have accomplished many goals as the office transitioned from paper-driven processes to more efficient and accurate digital environments using online applications, and a well-respected and redesigned website that are accessible 24/7.
Our office protects the health and safety of the public through regulation and investigation of over 50 professions and 80,000+ licensees; we assist Vermont’s business sector in registering to do business in Vermont; and we protect Vermont’s important historical documents while working with State agencies to improve records management and public accessibility to documents.
The position of Secretary of State is critically important in the protection of citizens’ voting rights and upholding our democracy. We have ensured accessible, free, fair, and secure election processes while protecting and expanding Vermonters constitutional right to vote through:
- Same Day Registration,
- Automatic Voter Registration,
- Online Voter Registration,
- ADA Accessible Voting,
- Enhanced cyber security,
- Universal Vote-by-Mail,
- Ballot Drop Boxes, and
- Ballot Curing.
I also want to thank Vermont’s City and Town Clerks for their efforts working with our office to perform the very core of our democracy — elections.
I want to thank my family, friends, and colleagues for their support including those who encouraged and supported me in my career.
Most importantly, I want to thank all Vermonters for your support, and the privilege of allowing me to serve you during my more than 35 years of elected public service. While I have enjoyed this job every day, I am looking forward to a new chapter at the conclusion of my current term. It has been the honor of my lifetime, and I am grateful to have been provided the opportunity to help protect, defend, and enhance our democracy.
Thank you, stay safe, be well, and please, do your part to keep our State a welcoming and respectful place for all Vermonters.