Flemming: The Condos ‘wet paper ballot standard’ surpasses ‘gold standard’

By David Flemming

In his Nov. 1 commentary, Jim Condos decried the election disinformation’s potential to create distrust in our electoral process. Despite bragging about the “gold standard voter-marked paper ballot we use in Vermont,” Condos has done much to encourage distrust in our balloting system.

Vermont was one of only 10 states which has decided to mail ballots to all addresses on file in 2020, according to the National Council of State Legislatures. Of the 10 states with mass mail balloting, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Utah have spent years fine-tuning the process. Vermont joined New Jersey, California, Montana and Nevada as the five states which attempted mass mail balloting for the first time.

state of Vermont

Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos

But during the 2020 election, the four other first-time mailing states joined the five early-adopting states in requiring a signature on a ballot to be matched to a signature on file. These 9 states also gave mail voters the chance to correct their ballot if they followed the balloting instructions incorrectly. Vermont stood alone among the 10 mass-mail balloting states in not using both the signature verification and correction safeguards.

Unlike the other 49 states who have at least a few safeguards to protect electoral integrity, Vermonters have no way of knowing how many votes were fraudulent in 2020 (and likely will be in 2022) and Condos doesn’t seem intent on finding out.

“Gold standard”? More like “wet paper ballot standard.”

While Condos’ cavalier attitude toward electoral integrity is disturbing, we should also be troubled by the insinuation that people should only look to government to find out if the government is telling the truth.

Condos’ insists that we “look only to primary, official sources for your information.” He continues, “the talking heads in our news feeds don’t count: It is on all of us to verify the information we hear before promoting it ourselves. If you’re skeptical, or have questions, reach out to those who have answers. You can call or email my office anytime, and we will gladly answer your questions to the best of our ability.”

Condos seems to be suggesting that only government sources (especially his office) can be trusted to answer questions of electoral integrity, or questions regarding the ability of government officials carrying out the duties of their office. Verification through this line of questioning seems uncertain at best.

For many, the “talking heads in our news feeds” include such local media sources as VT Digger, Seven Days, Burlington Free Press and Vermont Daily Chronicle have all built of levels of trust for telling the truth, in many ways exceeding the levels of trust Vermonters have in our government.

Let us remember that VT Digger broke the story about former Governor Peter Shumlin and current Attorney General TJ Donovan’s involvement in the EB-5 scandal. These state actors worried about Vermont’s guilt for ‘aiding and abetting’ Quiros in defrauding millions from dozens of investors. Aside from Governor Scott, Vermont’s political leaders are all from one party, just as they were at the time of the fraud. The state actors in the Democratic party had (and still have) every reason to protect each other from negative news stories that could deflate their party’s reputation. Accordingly, once one political party begins to dominate a government for a prolonged period of time, that party’s wishes start to become synonymous with what a government represents, and truth takes a backseat to the wishes of party leaders.

Condos’ omission of Vermont’s press from his recommendations suggests a dangerous precedent for a free society: solely looking to government sources to verify truth claims.

Yes, the press can be prone to error just like politicians. But Vermont’s press currently resembles, far more than Vermont’s government, a competitive marketplace. Vermont’s media outlets are constantly vying with one another for the next big scoop. And while that approach may, on occasion, lead to reporters reporting before they have all the facts (so that the competition won’t break the story), the opposite error of “our government withholding information until it can’t be ignored” is the much greater threat to truth and liberty in Vermont.

We should expect that Vermont, like all states with one-party dominance, to have a weaker, less competitive democracy in regards to governmental power distribution and in the range of ideas that are considered permissible in public discourse. This means we Vermonters must rely more heavily on our media to tell us “what’s really going on.” Vermont’s media isn’t perfect, but I look to it to verify information that the government can’t (or won’t) verify.

David Flemming is a policy analyst for the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Images courtesy of TNR and state of Vermont

10 thoughts on “Flemming: The Condos ‘wet paper ballot standard’ surpasses ‘gold standard’

  1. The goings on in Montpelier shows what kind of Govt we have here in Vermont, majority of our legislatures are from out of state where the ruined their states then came to Vt and turned this state into what they left, a sad thing here in Vt.

  2. Jimmy Condos’ “Elections Gone Wild !”

    The more I learn about last year’s election, the more convinced I become that Secretary of State Condos isn’t a clueless rube but a nefarious political operative planted into office to dismantle any and all safeguards that once were built into Vermont’s Title 17 Election Laws

    Jimmy’s constant refrain of “there’s no cheating or fraud” in Vermont’s Elections is not the innocent boast of a fool – it is just claptrap to cover for his incompetency and blind loyalty to his Progressive/Democrat masters !

    Good Job Jimmy, Good Boy !

  3. As a former Vermonter of 68 years it was refreshing to vote in Plattsburgh last week and they actually verified my signature.
    That never happened in South Burlington

  4. Simply put, its dangerous to publish, write, post or speak the Truth to Power today.
    Independent journalists and citizen journalists are being arrested, sued by State AG’s, killed, targeted by energy weapons, surveilled, stalked, harassed, defunded, dehomed, and bank accounts closed.
    If speaking truth came at no cost, everyone would be doing it.
    There are a few of us who have never stopped, and continue to put our lives on the line at great cost to our…lives.
    All it takes is a call to a landlord or a bank or business or the AG to put someone’s life in jeopardy now.
    And the ‘snitch’ culture is alive and well even here in Vermont.
    Its a mischaracterization to say there are NO journalists.
    The one’s being cancelled and attacked are the ones who are over the target but there is literally no protection for them/us, and no one is willing to Anne Frank us because no one actually supports speaking truth to power in the end.
    All the journalists I know in Vermont are faced with the very real question of paying the mortgage and keeping their family’s safe, and speaking razor sharp truth. Most don’t and dance around it.
    Targeting, character assassinations, frivolous lawsuits, defunding all are experienced by real truth speakers who manage to get past the censors.
    Who will defend us?
    Until you walk the path, you have no clue how rabid they have been since 2012 in controlling the narrative and taking out anyone who manages to concisely question it.
    Coming to terms with this threat of violence, coercian and cancel culture oneself is key to understanding how deeply the narrative has been controlled, and how scared they are now that the Truth will come out.
    Support independent journalists, especially those who are actually challenging power by speaking truth, not pussy footing around it.
    When you see an inde journo attacked, know they are right over the target. And support them.
    Truth is not given out freely. It must be sought, and when found, protected and held Sacred.
    Getting back to our moral compasses and supporting those risking it all to get the truth out there is crucial right now. Noisemakers are not the same as truth speakers.

    • He had that same smile on his face when he was hanging out with the CCP operatives at the State House February 2019 – a most jovial treasonous traitor criminal isn’t he?

  5. “what distinguished the Third Reich from all previous dictatorships was its use of all the means of communication to sustain itself and to deprive its objects of the power of independent thought.” – Albert Speer, Hitler’s chief architect. The People did some independent thinking in Virginia and in New Jersey, much to the distress of the Progressives.

    • Kearn,

      Virginia’s folks were energized by:

      1) Major threats to their livelihoods.
      2) Their right to bear arms. They elected a REPUBLICAN Secretary of State, a former Veteran, as was her husband!!
      3) The Socialism-based, CRT-bastardizing of the education of their children, that was in-knee-jerk-fashion endorsed by McCauliffe
      4) HIGH INFLATION eating away at savings and spendable incomes; gas at $3.50/gal and food prices soaring.
      5) WALK-IN OPEN BORDERS TO PURPOSELY ALTER THE US DEMOGRAPHICS with millions per year of illiterate, unskilled, sickly, often criminal, illegals, just walking across RECENTLY opened borders, ready to start sucking on government Social Security and Medicaid and other programs, to indoctrinate them to become Dem/Prog voters, forever.
      6) Record-high federal deficits.
      7) Record-high US national debts
      8) Record-high US trade deficits

      McCauliffe famously said : School boards are KING, regarding what is taught to children, and parents are not allowed to interfere.

      Virginia folks decided ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

      They turned out in large numbers, and voted for sanity, and decisively threw out the Dem/Progs, who had taken over the federal government by means of a Coup d’Etat, as explained in these articles.

      1) PIMA COUNTY, ARIZONA, 2020 ELECTION DATA ANALYSIS, by Dr. Shiva Audit Team, based at MIT



  6. David,

    Because, the Legislature is dominated by Dem/ Progs

    However, this does not mean the Dem/Prog state government EMPLOYEES have to have the same dominance.

    The state government has to serve ALL Vermonters in an impartial manner

    At present, the Vermont government employees are about 80% Dem/Prog.

    That means any meetings will be headed by Dem/Progs, and decisions likely will be one-sided.

    If, the employee ratio became 50% Dem/Prog and 50% Republican, each meeting would be headed by a Dem/Prog or a Republican, on a legally required, alternating basis.

    Each meeting would have a range viewpoints.

    Democracy would be improved.

    • Point made. Unfortunately, R’s and Conservatives aren’t as interested in government positions. It’s almost an oxymoron. They will serve on Committees, Boards and as elected representatives, but generally don’t make careers out of such work.
      Vermont has become a nirvana for progressive thought and politics in the last 40 years. Unlikely to change, as those same progressives can call themselves democrats, liberals etc. and entrench themselves in bureaucracy for a lifetime career. Condos is but an example.
      His actions in 2020 will assure the majority party stays in power, indefinitely.

Comments are closed.