Randomized recounts of seven Vermont voter precincts reveals no major changes to results

The Vermont secretary of state on Wednesday completed a post-election audit of the 2020 Vermont general election, and auditors found no major discrepancies from the results announced in November.

The post-election audit, which took place at the Pavilion Building on State Street in Montpelier, re-examined every ballot in seven precincts from across the state. The ballots had been sealed in ballot bags following the Nov. 3 election.

South Burlington City Clerk Donna Kinville told True North Wednesday that her Chittenden 7-4 district matched the original results exactly. Later in the day, Secretary of State Jim Condos confirmed that the results were mostly identical.

“I think that the important takeaway from this is that we have a simple, safe and secure elections process,” Condos said. “We follow the rules, the clerks follow the rules, and we are fortunate to have hard-working town clerks, hard-working elections staff. And we’re thankful to our voters for turning out this past year and setting a new record for voter turnout.”

Flickr/Gage Skidmore

MAKE IT COUNT: A recount of elections in seven Vermont communities took place Wednesday to find out if the 2020 elections were accurate.

Earlier in the week Condos said this work is conducted “to verify the accuracy of election results and provide Vermonters with further confidence in the integrity of the election process.”

In addition to the South Burlington district, the precincts randomly selected for this election season’s audit include Pownal, Randolph, Brandon, Topsham, Warren and Worcester. Of these seven communities, six use electronic tabulators to tally their votes, whereas Topsham uses hand counts. Every race on the ballots was audited.

Before the recount, the ballots were stored away in vaults at the various town offices, sealed away in bags. The video of the audit can be seen here at ORCA Media’s YouTube channel.

The success of the audit does not mean that Kinville doesn’t see problems with the Vermont system, which Condos claims is scandal-free. Critics of Vermont’s election system point out that the state has no effective methods in place to check for common types of fraud.

“We don’t have the ability to check the signatures,” Kinville said. She added that sometimes if a family brings in five ballots, she will check to see that the signatures should look different from each other. Asked if those types of checks are required of Vermont clerks, she said no.

She also said the early voting in Vermont is a trade-off of security for accessibility.

“Do I think early voting has its niche and its usefulness? Absolutely. Do I think it has the ability to be corrupted? Absolutely,” she said.

Immediately before the recount began, Condos spoke and cited the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason for expanding the mail-in ballots last year. Vermont has had 246 coronavirus-related deaths since the beginning of 2020 — 141 victims have been 80 years of age or older.

“Vermonters rose to the occasion voting in record numbers during a global pandemic,” Condos said. “Our decision to mail a ballot to every active registered voter resulted in new records both for early voting and for early turnout. Vermonters were able to vote safely and securely without needing to decide between putting their health at risk, the health of their communities at risk, or exercising their constitutional right to vote.”

A recount last year for Grand Isle of a House race between Republicans Leland and Michael Morgan and then Rep. and House Speaker Mitzi Johnson was just one vote shy from the original count.

In a recent article about Vermont’s voting system, Kinville was quoted as explaining different scenarios in which fraud can occur in Vermont. For example, if a parent wants to vote for their out-of-state college students, there is no safeguard against it.

“A family member can request one now for everyone in their house, and some of them may be college students voting in another state that has not updated their voter status in Vermont,” she said.

Despite Condos’ endorsement of making vote-by-mail a permanent part of Vermont’s elections, New Hampshire Democrat Secretary of State Bill Gardner has been outspoken against expanded use of absentee voting by mail — most recently in his opposition to H.R.1, a federal bill that aims to mandate universal mail-in voting.

“It will damage voter confidence, will diminish the importance of Election Day itself, and ultimately result in lower voter turnout,”  Gardner told the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this month.

The results of the audit will be posted on the secretary of state’s website as soon as the data is formatted.

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

Image courtesy of Flickr/Gage Skidmore

7 thoughts on “Randomized recounts of seven Vermont voter precincts reveals no major changes to results

  1. Vermont Secretary of State Condos, and his counterparts in other states, should focus on:

    1) Cleaning up their registered voter lists
    2)) Rectify their loose-goosy, permissive, voting “requirements”, instead of using them as election weapons to flout the will of the people.

    Manipulating voter lists provides corrupt election officials more names to “play” with, to enhance Dem/Prog power and command/control.

    Secretaries of State and Dem/Prog legislators want to keep “their registered voting list weapons” by:

    1) Not deleting dead people
    2) Not deleting people who moved to another state
    3) Enabling non-citizens and illegal aliens to vote
    4) Enabling temporary residents to vote, even if they would reside less time in state than required by law. That requirement should be at least one year to avoid shenanigans
    5) Enabling convicted felons to vote (in jail, on parole, or not)
    6) Enabling under-age people to vote
    7) Enabling feeble-minded people in nursing homes to “vote”, by “proxies” filling in their ballots, without telling them; the epidemy of “absentee” voting.
    8) Enabling out-of-state /foreign students, citizen or not, to vote. They should vote in their own state/country at all times, no excuse.
    9) Enabling “motor-voting” to all comers, documented or not.
    10) Enabling ballot drop off boxes that are unsupervised 24/7, not monitored by video, a major fraud opportunity. A continuity of custody issue.
    11) Enabling indiscriminate mail-in voting (taking advantage of COVID conditions), a major fraud opportunity, as President Carter predicted a few decades ago, and was proven in 2020.
    12 Placing in service Dominion, etc., voting machines that are:

    1) Programmable, i.e., they automatically switch votes from non-favored to favored candidates, as demonstrated on videos.
    2) Wirelessly connected to state-owned servers, enabling the:

    – Observation of real-time counting by official state entities.
    – Observation by unofficial entities by: 1) hacking the servers, and 2) by having received passwords from corrupt counting officials.
    – Sharing of real-time counting with US and foreign media for their election coverage.
    – The active “observation/participation” by foreign actors, such as China, etc.

  2. It was not random. I am in 7-3 and 7-4 is one of the most even balanced D & R and retired citizens which lean R.
    Would have been more convinced if he had chosen a ward in the center of Burlington where it is heavily left and extreme. Again, duplicity.

    • I agree with Thea’s observation. My first thought was: Where are these audits taking place? And are these places that are likely to experience significant voter fraud? I’m not convinced by this audit either.

  3. At this point with vast irrefutable evidence of voter/election fraud presented and readily available, we can be assured that Dominion machines and Smartmatic software are corrupt. So, by extension, rubber-stamping Condos and town clerks who have conveniently sidestepped a thorough forensic audit of these machines and ballots are also corrupt.

    Time to take out the trash.

  4. “South Burlington City Clerk Donna Kinville told True North [the post-election audit] matched the original results exactly. Secretary of State Jim Condos confirmed that the results were mostly identical.”

    ‘Exactly’ or ‘mostly identical’. So, the audit recounted the same ballots counted earlier. But did the recount verify that the voter was the same person to whom the ballot was mailed?

    If, for example, a voter who “is physically unable to sign his or her name may mark an “X” swearing to the statement on the certificate. The officers who deliver the ballots shall witness the mark and sign their names with a statement attesting to this fact on the envelope.”

    But what happens with a ballot mailed to an address by the USPS?

    While the voter is required to sign the certificate on the envelope for the ballot to be valid, how does the Town Clerk know the signature is legitimate?

    In a recent interview, Barre Town Clerk Carol Dawes said: “There isn’t any way in our current system that would … preclude somebody making a request and then voting on behalf of someone who doesn’t want to vote.”

    “Dawes went on to say that she ‘hoped’ that the number of people who cast fraudulent votes in this manner are small, and ‘believes’ that it is. But, and this is the critical point, she has no way of actually knowing what those numbers really are. They could be small; they could be huge. We don’t know, and the system does not allow us to know.”

    So, SOS Condos completed his audit. Clearly, the only aspect of the election the audit verified is that Town Clerks can count. Nothing more.

    • This is the smoke screen.

      Who mailed out all the ballots? Did the follow state rules? Why no data? Why no reporting of facts?

      Vermont elections are often tight, take Essex voting 2x to try and pass a merger nobody wants….well I guess some do. The votes are within 2 -3 dozen votes in declaring a victory.

      We should have all voting on one day. Absentee ballots for sick people only. Give people the day off if needed. Ther are way too many games being played.

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