Paul Dame: Trust, but verify, election recounts

This commentary is by Paul Dame, chair of the Vermont GOP.

This week three House races will begin their official recounts. This year, as in many years in the past, there are a few races where the winner was determined by less than 15 votes. In previous years we have had House seats determined by just one single vote. And when the counts are that close, filing for and serving in a recount is an important part of the process to give everyone the confidence that our election-night counts are accurate.

Paul Dame, chairman of the Vermont GOP

Two Republicans and one Democrat have filed for recounts in Bennington, Rutland and Grand Isle County. The smallest margin, just seven votes, is in a district where incumbent Republican Art Peterson edged out former state Rep. Dave Potter. There is literally zero evidence of any problems in any of these three elections — but it’s still part of our process to allow for recounts, just to be certain we got it right the first time.

It could be argued that recounts are a waste of time. They take up valuable court time, sometimes require hiring lawyers, and each candidate usually recruits a list of volunteers. And in Vermont recounts rarely ever change the outcome that was projected on election night.

But sometimes we have to sacrifice efficiency for resiliency. In a few cases where it is warranted, we take a look at the process and review every piece carefully to make sure that the election process is still working the way that it should. It gives the voters, and the losing candidate an opportunity to verify with a higher degree of certainty that the outcome was correctly determined.  President Reagan’s simple motto of “trust but verify” is an appropriate orientation for us to have towards not only elections, but every aspect of our state and federal government.

The ability to challenge and verify the process helps to both keep it honest, while at the same time providing to skeptics the additional transparency to put doubts to rest. By creating these checks and balances we are able to build a stronger more durable process for everyone, strengthening our elections and making them more resilient.

But there is still more work to do. One of the concerns I heard often around the state is the problem of excess ballots. These are ballots that are sent to people who are still on the voter checklist but who no longer live at the address that matches the registration. When voters receive the incorrect number of ballots at their home, even though they have no intention of misusing those ballots, it creates doubts. Rather than fueling those doubts by ignoring the problem, the Secretary of State’s office has the opportunity to take the initiative to reduce that concern and do what many Republicans have been saying for over a decade: clean up the voter rolls.

In the absences of their action, the Republican Party has begun an ongoing effort to allow individuals who received an excess ballot to report it to our website, so that it can be referred to the respective town clerks to be purged from the voter rolls. Since these excess ballots reduce confidence, and are an unnecessary expense to the state, we are trying to play a small role in improving the confidence we have in our system and improve our efficiency too. While things like voter ID (which are standard in nearly every other developed country in the world) might be out of our reach until we have a Republican majority, cleaning up excess ballots is one small thing that existing state statute has a process for and it’s something we can work on now.

Image courtesy of TNR

17 thoughts on “Paul Dame: Trust, but verify, election recounts

  1. This was posted by Robert Steven Noble on another thread

    This is the truth about what is taking place in America today

    In the state of Vermont we had governor Phil Scott

    newly elected lieutenant governor David Zuckerman

    outgoing secretary of state Jim Condos all meeting with chinese representation…

    This is what Robert had to say:

    It’s all part of the “Takeover From Within” promised by the Communist Leader back in 1959.
    According to, “The Art Of War” by, Sun Tzu, The system of taking over another country from within takes, psychological manipulation, time and patience.
    You send devoted citizens to the other country to befriend the citizens of that country and gain their favor through psychological manipulation to get elected to powerful positions. Once in those positions, more psychological manipulation is used on the powerful positions on the same level and higher to change the way the citizens think about their own country and how it is run….

    It all takes from 60 to 80 years to takeover a powerful nation like the United States of America, but it doesn’t take that long for less powerful nations like, Cuba or Venezuela.
    They are almost done with the U.S.A.
    They are so good at it that you don’t even realize that your country is being taken over right under your own noses.

    They do it in a way that makes you think that they don’t know what they are doing, and they ALWAYS point the finger at their opponents to blame them for the wrong doings, but, the people still keep voting them into office, and things just keep getting worst.

    Are the people REALLY voting them back into office, or, is that just what they want you to believe???
    Those that cry fraud, are NEVER proven wrong, they are just demonised while the rest of the citizens are assured that there is no fraud. Without any investigation to prove it to positively assure the citizens that there is no fraud. Just “Hearsay.” Believe it or get demonized.

  2. It is not logically possible to verify the chain of custody of a mail-in ballot, therefore it is not logically possible to certify an election containing a majority of mail-in ballots.

    Note that mail-in ballots are different from absentee ballots which have a verifiable chain of custody.

  3. I’ll have to agree with Mr. Dame. This reminds me of the old saying:

    “Lord, grant me the strength to accept the things I cannot change,
    the courage to change the things I can,
    and the wisdom to know the difference.”

    ― Reinhold Niebuhr

  4. The operative is exposed and the receipts are numerous. We know FTX cyrpto exchange was used by both parties. We know who and how money was withheld from certain candidates and why. We know ballots were mailed out en masse whether the person lived here, lived elsewhere or perhaps, not even alive or barely alive. We know it’s a big criminal syndicate. Is anyone within the law enforcement community going to do anything about it? Seeing what is going on in Arizona – apparently not. The order is to stonewall and gaslight to remain in power and have total control over We, the People. Welcome to the New World Order.

  5. Paulie D, I’m sorry that I have to be the one to break this to you, but somebody has to do it. The Democrats and Republicans are pigs dining from the same trough of swill. Trump is the only reason you have any voters left at all.


  6. Trust but verify in Arizona?

    Vermont should be a leader
    Vermont should issue a personal ID card, with photo
    The card would have a chip with personal info, such as date and place of birth, citizenship, permanent legal resident with green card, undocumented foreign resident, etc

    That card is taken to the election center to vote
    It is read by a machine, similar to TSA reading your passport

    No registered voter lists would be require.

    The issue of registered voter list padding with dead, out of state, and fictitious / invented people would be nullified

    Each ballot would be numbered when read by a machine

    The identity card reading total should equal the ballot reading total

    The issues of ballot box stuffing and ballot harvesting would become almost impossible

  7. ” Trust, but verify, election recounts” now if that wasn’t so sad, it would be funny !!

    I am a 71-year-old conservative Vermonter and this new style of the election process
    is a scam. publisher clearing house ” bulk ballots ” it’s not voting day, it’s whatever it
    takes to win…..correct.

    But here’s my pet peeve, why can we have thousands of ” college students ” going to
    school as an ” out of state ” student, per their tuition but allowed to vote in the state
    as a resident ??

    So two things if they are legal out-of-state students then they need to vote in their
    home state, but Condos lets them vote here, I wouldn’t think they would double dip,
    vote in two states, not ethical or legal, but who’s verifying they don’t ” Trust & Verify
    correct ??

    So if they are allowed to vote as a Vermont resident, then they should only be paying
    ” in-state” tuition, correct ??, so refunds should be had by all, so the colleges won’t be
    very happy writing refund checks…………… you can’t have it both ways !!

  8. This commentary does read like a press release from phil scott’s office.
    The shift from seeking votes to seeking ballots was enabled by jim condos and the 2020 legislature.
    The legally accomplished mail-in ballot scheme for 2020’s elections was not and never was considered as a temporary measure and is now accepted by most in Vermont. Unfortunately, our election system was but a legal beta test for other states to follow as they too corrupt the election process. Witness 2022 election controversy.
    Trust but verify, mr. dame was originally phrased by President Ronald Reagan during arms verification treaties in the 1980’s. He didn’t trust the then Soviet Union at all, but was referring to diplomatically verifying numbers of weapons the USSR was keeping or destroying to comply with treaties. The US could verify, fairly accurately the counts by actually seeing the weapons. We as voters cannot verify much about the integrity of our elections. Certainly, hand counts of paper ballots as well as recounts can be done- and results of such an audit were reported here at VDC- but that is merely auditing sheets of paper. Until Voter ID is required and voter rolls purged- along with mail in balloting restored back to just absentee ballots- we cannot verify voters to ballots. That, sir is the crux of the problem.
    It will be interesting to see if mr. dame has a similar ‘press release’ after IRV voting becomes Vermont’s next election gimmick, along with the voter disenfranchisement resulting from this scheme to insure D/P majority rule from our school boards and town officials all the way to the governors office.

    • Oh Frank, you must be mistaken. The Dems feel really, really bad about the epic losses for the VTGOP every two years for 20+ years. This is why they want IRV voting, so more conservatives can get into office! I’m sure Mr. Dame will be all for this, for obvious reasons.

      Please don’t choke on the sarcasm…..

  9. Mr. Dame sounds like a democrat operative. Trust, but verify?

    Forty percent of Vermont’s workforce is employed in the heavily tax subsidized sectors of health, education, and government. Additionally, Vermont has the largest per capita incidence of tax-free non-profit corporations in the U.S., enabled by special interest groups like the VT NEA, VPIRG, AFSCME, VFNHP and the VSEA. There is nothing, politically speaking, that will convince these omnipotent moral busybodies to stop imposing their tyranny upon us. “They will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

    Dame offers nothing to indicate that he has any idea how to stop this juggernaut. Why? Because he’s a party to it.

    Dame offers nothing to indicate that he has any idea how to stop this juggernaught.

    • Dame has yet to mention the violatiion of party rules by Republican leadership.

      I know people who did not vote because of lack of truth and leadership in our party.

      We no longer have leadership we can trust.

      I want to know what happens next.

      Does he just turn his head and ignore that too.

      The destruction of the republican party has come from within.

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