New Hampshire Democrat secretary of state recommended for testimony on Vermont elections bill

Michael Bielawski/TNR

INSECURE ELECTIONS: Live mail-in-ballots could be sent to every Vermont home for future elections whether voters request them or not.

The House Committee on Government Operations on Wednesday discussed who should testify on a bill that would make permanent changes to Vermont’s election system — including adoption of a universal vote-by-mail system that sends live ballots to everyone on Vermont’s voter checklist.

During the morning meeting, one representative suggested having New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner, a Democrat, testify on S.15. Gardner, the longest-serving secretary of state in the nation, has defended the Granite State’s election security measures, such as no early voting and limited use of absentee ballots.

Wikimedia Commons/Public domain

New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner

“We’ve been comparing a lot of our work to what they do [in New Hampshire],” said Rep. Samantha Lefebvre, R-Orange, who suggested Gardner. “And [we should] just have his perspective on it … to see what they’ve learned.”

Gardner is at odds with Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos when it comes to his views on mail-in voting, voter ID and other election policies. When testifying on Capitol Hill earlier in April, Gardner said federal election bill HR.1 that seeks to mandate the use of mail-in ballots nationwide “will damage voter confidence” and ultimately “lower voter turnout.”

Rep. Sarah Copeland Hanzas, D-Bradford, said getting any secretary of state to come before the committee would be a challenge. “It may be a bit of a challenge to find a secretary of state to come and testify to us,” she said.

Committee members are reviewing S.15, which would make permanent the widespread mail-in voting used in 2020. That one-time use of universal vote-by-mail was permitted as a way to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

Throughout the committee meeting, the discussion often prioritized accessibility to voting. Rep. Tanya Vyhovsky, P/D-Essex, said she wants to hear from voter rights groups to “offer some insight into how we can make this process the most accessible and create supports needed for access.”

In addition to expanding the mail-in ballots, S.15 allows for outdoor polling places and drop-boxes, early processing of absentee ballots, fixing defective ballots, and other rules regarding mail-in ballots.

Lefebvre, one of two Republicans in the committee, recently told TNR that S.15 would permit the state to sent out ballots “not knowing who’s actually going to end up getting it.

She also said Vermont has few safeguards in place to protect against voter fraud.

The bill does include the prohibition of a candidate or paid staff member from returning someone else’s ballot. City and town clerks “shall report any suspected violations to the Secretary of State’s office, who shall refer them to the Attorney General’s office for investigation.”

Rep. Mark Higley, R-Lowell, said he’s not impressed with those enforcement mechanisms.

“I don’t know that I need to hear from anybody, but I’m not convinced that we shouldn’t have more restrictions in this regard,” he said.

Higley cited an incident at a city council meeting when some individuals interfered with the phone signal to disrupt a councilwoman’s ability to speak. He suggested if political activists would go so far to silence opposition, other activists would scheme to commit election fraud.

“When I hear something like that it makes me think why wouldn’t a group such as that or whoever they are, if they are willing to thwart an elected representative’s ability to speak, I have concerns about what it would take in a general election or other election,” he said.

Copeland Hanzas expressed skepticism that signature matching should be mandated for the use of mail-in ballots.

“If I’m sitting at a desk maybe signing off on my bank mortgage my signature looks one way but if I’m standing at the counter at the DMV, my signature looks a little bit different,” she said.

Vermont’s commitment to mail-in voting comes as public confidence in federal elections is at a historic low following the 2020 presidential election. At least half of Republicans do not trust the election results, according to a poll by four Boston area universities.

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

Images courtesy of Michael Bielawski/TNR and Wikimedia Commons/Public domain

3 thoughts on “New Hampshire Democrat secretary of state recommended for testimony on Vermont elections bill

  1. Before any of this current effort to destroy Vermont’s Election System, we already had the most liberal election process in the nation with “no excuse” early and absentee voting and same day registration/voting. Jim Condos is a partisan political hack who dreams of running an election modeled on the voting on “Dancing With the Stars” where supporters can call in their votes, over and over again – with the winner determined by who gets the most votes, including duplicate votes from the same supporter,

    If the Legislature was truely interested in improving election integrity and voter confidence, they would start by eliminating Vermont’s insane “open primary” process and replace it with either a closed primary or a caucus primary where the party faithful alone select their champions for the General Election without the interference of the opposition party trying to steal the other party’s slots using write-in ballots to make their candidate the winner of the other party’s primary – as so often has happened in recent years.

    If Jim Condos gave a damn about increasing voter confidence and election integrity – he wouldn’t be gaming the process with this “Elections Gone Wild” free-for-all scheme !

  2. Dear God, is Mr. Gardner a Democrat with integrity and a moral compass? Defending election integrity while in Arizona the donkey party is doing everything to stop an audit to ensure election integrity? Meanwhile, our own representatives are doing whatever possible to cover up their corrupt ways and take away our election integrity once and for all.

  3. All LEGAL votes should be counted.

    Padding voter lists with motor-voters, illegals aliens, out-of-staters, dead people, criminals, etc., should not occur.
    Voter photo ID, such as a driver’s license; Veterans Administration ID card; should be required when voting in person.

    Mail-in votes must have full signatures and valid address, on the outside of the ballot envelope. Voters should make sure that same signature is also on file with Town Clerks.

    CONDOS is acting as usual, dispelling bromide statements regarding corrupted voter lists and less than accurate counting.

    He knows universal mail-in creates increased opportunities to commit election fraud; even President Carter agrees.

    New Hampshire’s elections are not fraud-free either, despite the long-term presence of SoS Bill Gardner.

    The ONLY reason a recent major NH BALLOT/COUNTING fraud was caught, is because a Democrat lost by 24 votes and demanded a recount.

    After the recount all hell broke loose.


    If such COUNTING AND BALLOT BOX STUFFING frauds go on in New Hampshire, they would not happen in Vermont?

    The hand recount of the Windham (Rockingham District 7) New Hampshire House 2020 race revealed Dominion election counting machines shorted all four Republicans by about 300 votes. Gee, how is this possible?

    This was no a trivial matter. The difference was 1,363 votes out of 10,006 vote cast, 13.63%

    A forensic audit will determine the huge discrepancy between the election day results and subsequent recount of Windham’s November 3, 2020, State Rep. race where a difference of 1,363 total votes from just 10,006 ballots was uncovered.

    The Reveal of the COUNTING Fraud

    This fraud was revealed, because St. Laurent, Democrat, who lost by 24 votes, challenged the count, and got a recount.
    Soti, Republican, recovered the 297 votes falsely taken from him by sneaky Dem/Prog vote COUNTERS
    St. Laurent, had to give back 99 votes falsely attributed to him by sneaky Dem/Prog vote COUNTERS
    As a result, instead of losing by 24 votes, St. Laurent ended up losing by 420 votes!!! Yikes!!

    St. Laurent must not be glad he asked for a recount, because the recount of the votes of the other 3 Republicans showed each of them had been screwed out of about 300 votes as well, thanks to sneaky Dem/Prog COUNTING shenanigans.

    The thinking of the Dem/Progs must have been: “Heh, this is a close race. Maybe we can flip it”.

    Dem/Progs vote COUNTERS were:

    1) Holding back votes so they would not be counted in a timely manner, and/or
    2) Rigged the vote counting machines. See URL

    FRAUD No. 1
    Soti, Republican, before recount 4480 votes, after recount 4777 votes, gain 297 votes
    St. Laurent, before recount 4456, after recount 4357, a LOSS of 99 votes
    Margin, before recount 24, after recount 420.

    FRAUD No. 2
    Griffin, Republican, before recount 5292, after recount 5591 votes, gain 299 votes
    Azibert, Democrat, before recount 2787 votes, after recount 2808 votes, gain 28 votes
    Margin, before recount 2505 votes, after recount 2783 votes

    FRAUD NO. 3
    Lyon, Republican, before recount 4786 votes, after recount 5039 votes, gain 303 votes
    Roman, Democrat, before recount 3415 votes, after recount 3443 votes, gain 28 votes
    Margin, before recount 1371 votes, after recount 1646 votes

    FRAUD No. 4
    McMahon, Republican, before recount 5256 votes, after recount 5554 votes, gain 298 votes
    Singueau, Democrat, before recount 2764 votes, after recount 2782 votes, gain 18 votes
    Margin, before recount 2492 votes, after recount 2772 votes

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