Jim Condos responds to early mixups in mail-in ballots at press conference

In a question-and-answer session at a press conference Tuesday, Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos and chief of staff Eric Covey answered questions about this year’s general election, including questions about ballot mixups being reported all across the state.

During the media briefing held over Zoom, one reporter referenced President Donald Trump’s well-reported complaints about mail-in elections.

“There’s no evidence [of voter fraud],” Condos replied, “[and] he’s shooting from the hip on that stuff. It’s unfortunate but it may be part of a bigger scheme that he’s putting forth about the election process.”

state of Vermont

Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos

Condos, with the backing of Republican Gov. Phil Scott, made a decision over the summer that the state would automatically send live ballots to every voter on the statewide checklist regardless of any request. The move has already resulted in thousands of wayward ballots getting misdirected to wrong addresses or returned to town clerks’ offices.

“We believe that the true voter fraud that occurs out there is denying any eligible American or Vermonter their right to cast a ballot,” Condos said during the Zoom meeting. “We believe that the more people who vote, the more eligible people who vote, then the stronger our democracy.”

Trump recently listed seven examples of mail-in voter fraud taken from national headlines. These include tens of thousands of ballots being discarded, ballots found in the trash, the counting of ballots a week after elections, and more.

Condos said when it comes to individual households accidentally getting ballots intended for other people — usually the result of people not informing their town clerks when they move — it is unlikely that those would get voted fraudulently, as there is a legal penalty for doing so and most people wouldn’t want to take that risk.

He also explained that once a ballot is submitted, it gets into the data system so another ballot cannot be accepted for that person. An attempt at double-voting in someone’s name will alert the system and trigger an investigation.

“To beat that protection right, somebody would have to know and be sure and be confident enough that they were not only ready to vote somebody else’s ballot, but to know that they were voting the ballot from somebody who would not then subsequently try to vote themselves,” Covey said.

“And like Jim said, our clerks really know our voters well and will alert us to any cases where the voter is marked off the checklist, and then it becomes clear that that voter has in fact voted [for him/herself],” he said.

Town clerks have repeatedly told True North they cannot check most of the signatures that are on the incoming mail-in ballots because comparison signatures are not always on file and to do so would be time consuming. The situation led one clerk to retort, “You’re not gonna know” if mail-in ballot fraud occurs.

Vermonters have been contacting True North and sharing stories of receiving live ballots intended for other voters who have long since moved away.

RELATED: Votable ballots ending up in wrong mailboxes across Vermont

During the press conference, Condos explained safeguards that go into submitting a ballot.

“The ballot envelope, the certificate envelope, has the name of the voter, their voter number ID that we have on file, as well as a bar code, and that information, when it comes back to the clerk, they will be able to see it,” he said. “Please remember that the boards of civil authorities and the town clerks are the ones who maintain the checklist, and they forward this information onto the secretary of state’s office.”

Condos cited the dangers of the coronavirus to justify his expansion of mail-in voting.

“We had to make this decision months in advance not knowing what path the virus would take,” he said.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North. Send him news tips at bielawski82@yahoo.com and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Images courtesy of TNR and state of Vermont

9 thoughts on “Jim Condos responds to early mixups in mail-in ballots at press conference

  1. We just received our SECOND set of ballots for this election. We have already voted.
    Only idiots would impose such a system. If this is happening in a small state like
    Vermont, think of the possible fraud that could occur in higher populated states. I’d hate to think that there was a plan for tampering with swing state votes to alter the outcome of the election. Which states and which party pushed hard for mail-in ballots? We all know.

  2. No mail in ballots should be open before election day and they should only be opened in front of BCA members, hopefully from different parties. Ballots returned as undeliverable should be shredded immediately and not put into a box or vault.

    Condos should send out directions to all town clerks to do this.

  3. TOWN CLERK: “The people who have conceived and forced this system of unaccountable, mass mailed ballots upon us without reasonable safeguards, are either very foolish or have no respect for sanctity of elections and those who value the process or have an ulterior motive.”

    That statement sums up the wholeMAIL-IN problem.

    CONDOS, a former CERTS sales rep, knows this exactly, because Town Clerks and others have told him.
    Nevertheless, he keeps on grinning.
    He has done his customer service for the DEM/Prog elites.
    Those CAREER elites care about nothing, except veto-proof majority dictatorship to COMMAND AND CONTROL THE SPENDING $7.5 BILLION PER YEAR.

    ALWAYS FOLLW THE MONEY

  4. When a ballot comes into our Town Clerk’s office the name is checked against the checklist and noted that a ballot in that name has been voted. Some of our Board of Civil Authority (BCA) members, with at least one person from each party present, then meet to open the envelopes-upside down so we cannot see the name of the voter-and the ballot is put into a box to be run through our tabulator while the BCA members are still present. The empty ballot envelopes with the signature are then filed in alphabetical order.

    If a voter comes into the Town Clerk’s office and wants a ballot but their name is already checked off as having voted, they will have to sign an affidavit saying that they have not voted any other ballot and the ballot envelope with their name and signature on it will be retrieved. They can then give an example of their signature to compare to the signature on the envelope. If it is not their signature, then they will be given another ballot to vote.

    So what’s the problem, the voter was not disenfranchised, right? Indeed, they were not disenfranchised but there is still a fraudulent ballot being counted that should not have been counted. Knowing that there are no signatures on file for Vermont voters a group of people could get together and exchange ballots, vote them, sign the envelope and then send them in by mail or drop them in the drop box. A few days later, after their ballots have been opened and tabulated, those people could obtain another ballot (at the Town Clerk’s office or at the polls on election day) and vote those ballots, thus easily gaming the system and getting extra votes for their candidate. They would be criminally liable if they signed the affidavit falsely, but how much effort would or could go into an investigation and how would anything be proved unless someone talked about the scheme with the wrong person?

    There are myriad other ways to game this system and it makes a mockery of the sanctity of “one person, one vote” despite all of the work that Town Clerks and BCAs put into keeping the election results accurate. We used to have an entrance checklist, an exit checklist and those checklist numbers had to match the number of voted paper ballots. When we got a tabulator, we stopped doing the exit checklist but the entrance checklist, tabulator and number of voted paper ballots have to match. Earlier this week when our BCA ran ballots through the tabulator (we cannot see any totals until the end of voting on election day) we compared the number of ballots on the tabulator, the number of signed envelopes and the number of paper ballots. When we counted the paper ballots (over 800) into stacks of 25 we were counting the ends of the piles, and we were off by 5 ballots. We then counted all of the paper ballots again by lifting each ballot to count it and found 4 ballots that had been folded so that we had not counted the ends of those ballots. The number of ballots then matched the number of envelopes but the tabulator number said that there was one more ballot. Our Town Clerk will check with the Secretary of State to see if we should run all of those ballots again, which we are willing to do to make sure that the will of the voters is achieved.

    I have been a BCA member for about 30 years and we have always treated ballots and voting as a sacred trust. We do everything that we can do to make sure that everyone can vote, that their vote is counted and that the numbers are accurate. As described above, the Town Clerk and BCA used to be able to control every ballot, whether requested and sent out/returned as an absentee ballot or when voted on election day, but that is obviously no longer the case. The people who have conceived and forced this system of unaccountable, mass mailed ballots upon us without reasonable safeguards, are either very foolish or have no respect for sanctity of elections and those who value the process or have an ulterior motive.

    • “The people who have conceived and forced this system of unaccountable, mass mailed ballots upon us without reasonable safeguards, are either very foolish or have no respect for sanctity of elections and those who value the process or have an ulterior motive.”

      Keep in mind that these ‘people’ were elected by us and, as Benjamin Franklin anticipated in his address to the Constitutional Convention in 1787 –

      “In these sentiments, Sir, I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such; because I think a general Government necessary for us, and there is no form of Government but what may be a blessing to the people if well administered, and believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in Despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic Government, being incapable of any other. I doubt too whether any other Convention we can obtain, may be able to make a better Constitution. For when you assemble a number of men to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men, all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests, and their selfish views. From such an assembly can a perfect production be expected? It therefore astonishes me, Sir, to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does; and I think it will astonish our enemies, who are waiting with confidence to hear that our councils are confounded like those of the Builders of Babel; and that our States are on the point of separation, only to meet hereafter for the purpose of cutting one another’s throats.”

      We are, yet again, at that crossroad.

  5. The democRATS in Vt are getting nervous, hence the mail in-ballots. ol’ Condoms knew there would be fraud. That’s what he and the rest of them are counting on. Condos always has the excuse for things. Blaming the voter’s. It’s their fault not Condos. He’s the man who knows everything, he needs to use his head instead of a hat rack. It’s cost the tax payers a lot of money for his stuipd idea.Theres nothing wrong with asking for an absentee ballot., but to get one when you didn’t ask for one is wrong. I will vote at my town voting place in person. It’s my Consitutional right and Condoms isn’t going to take it away from me.

  6. “We believe that the true voter fraud that occurs out there is denying any eligible American or Vermonter their right to cast a ballot” which is a totally irrelevant statement since the preexisting election system didn’t deny eligible American with valid identification the right to vote. Absentee ballots by application have long been available. It would be sufficient to classify corona virus as adequate justification. Watching the street riots encouraged and supported by the Progressives (including Kamala Harris, VP nominee) I have little trouble envisioning the mail in madness to be implemented with the goal of throwing the election into chaos.

  7. Excuses, excuses that’s all Condos has and using the Wuhan Virus as the reason
    for this boondoggle…….. pretty pathetic.

    Democrats plan is to keep th fear of the virus and change the rules so they can be
    manipulated and then watch the excuses that arise and court cases galore !!

    Wake up people

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