November 25, 2020
For immediate release
Contact: Eric Covey, 802-828-2148
MONTPELIER, Vt. — Today Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos announced the 2020 post-Election audit will be temporarily postponed until such time that it can be held safely due to COVID-19 and the associated health risks posed by gathering staff and members of the public from multiple communities and households in one room for multiple hours to conduct the audit.
“My planning for the conduct of the 2020 elections in Vermont has been driven by two guiding principles: preserve every eligible voter’s right to vote and protect the health and safety of voters, Town Clerks, and election workers,” said Secretary Condos.
“At this time, we have been told repeatedly by national and state health experts that gathering in groups from multiple households should be avoided at all costs. After consulting with Vermont’s health experts, I have determined that in order to protect the health and safety of my staff, the Town Clerks and members of their Boards of Civil Authority responsible for bringing the ballots to us, and members of the public interested in attending the open audit process, the audit shall be postponed until such time that it can be held safely and transparently.”
After every General Election, voted ballots are stored in secure, tamper-proof ballot bags and locked in the Town Clerks’ vaults, under a secure chain of custody. They must be kept for 22 months following the election.
Seven randomly selected voting precincts will be included in this year’s audit: Brandon, Pownal, Randolph, South Burlington (Chittenden 7-4), Topsham, Warren and Worcester. Six of these seven towns use optical scan tabulators for the tabulation of election results, and one town (Topsham) uses hand count procedures.
Every ballot cast in those precincts will be audited, and every race on those ballots will be included in the audit. Following the November 3rd election all ballots cast were sealed in ballot bags and held securely by the Town Clerks in their vaults.
“Fortunately, due to the secure procedures surrounding our post-election audit process, we are in a position to be able to do what is best for the health and safety of all involved,” said Condos. “While this was a difficult decision to make, we cannot take any risks during a time that cases are increasing here in Vermont, and even more so in our surrounding states.”
The postponement of the audit was authorized by Secretary Condos in a directive he issued today pursuant to the authority granted to him by the Legislature under Acts 92 and 135 of 2020.