By Guy Page
A longtime Vermont journalist reported that he received a Vermont ballot request card at his home in Tennessee, where he moved in April.
The card wasn’t forwarded by the U.S. Post Office — it was mailed directly from Vermont to Tennessee, former WVNY-22 news anchor Gary Wheelock reported on Facebook Aug. 3.
“Someone needs to tell the Secretary of State’s office that they made a huge mistake designing the card mailed to registered voters,” Wheelock said. “I moved to Tennessee in April, formally declared residency in TN (driver’s license, car registration, new home purchase, registered to vote) and sold my house in Vermont,” Wheelock wrote on the Facebook page of Vernon Town Clerk and former Vernon radio newsman Tim Johnson.
Vermont Daily called Wheelock at his home in Tennessee and confirmed the veracity of the statements.
“Three weeks ago, I received a card offering me an absentee Vermont ballot,” Wheelock wrote. “The card wasn’t ‘forwarded’ to me by the US Postal Service … it was addressed directly to me at my new address here in Tennessee! But worst of all, the card was designed with no option to request that I be removed from the Vermont voter checklists due to moving out of state. The Secretary of State’s office has gone to the trouble of fully updating their records with my new address … but never gave a thought to the possibility that some of the out-of-state mailings they were sending were to people like me who no longer live in Vermont.”
“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the potential for voter fraud in cases like that,” Wheelock concluded.
Wheelock added in a subsequent comment that the Town Clerk from his former Vermont town didn’t seem confident in the Vermont Secretary of State’s absentee ballot system. “Judging from the reaction I got from my town clerk’s office, they know that they are dealing with a bureaucracy in Montpelier that is not especially responsive to local town needs.”
A similar account was shared as a comment on VTWatercooler.com by a former Essex Junction man: “My wife and I recently moved to New Hampshire. Within 6 weeks, we received an inquiry from the town clerk from Essex Junction, where we had resided. The clerk wanted to know if we in fact moved, and if our names should be removed from the Essex rolls. We sent it back affirming everything. What a surprise it was when we received ballots in the mail from the Essex Town clerk, addressed to us in New Hampshire, and giving us the right to vote in the Vermont primary. Scary does not describe this enough.”
Stories similar to Wheelock’s and the Essex Junction man’s regarding misdirected absentee ballot request cards have been circulating through Vermont social media all summer long. Vermont lawyer Deb Bucknam is collecting them from affected Vermonters.
Bucknam emailed recently that she is gathering from the general public “evidence as to what has happened with the postcards the SOS sent to every “active” voter in Vermont for the Aug. 11th primary.
“If you received any postcards from the Secretary of State that were addressed to persons who no longer live at your residence, please email me,” the St. Johnsbury attorney associated with the firm of Bucknam Law. Information can be emailed at DBucknam@vtlegalhelp.com.
Read more of Guy Page’s reports. Vermont Daily is sponsored by True North Media.