Editor’s note: This commentary is by Shannara Johnson, of Morrisville. She is a Republican candidate running for state representative for the Lamoille-Washington district.
Since I’ve been running for the office of state representative and paying more attention to such things, I’ve seen time and again how voters are being intentionally kept in the dark by the Vermont blue supermajority in the House and Senate.
Here are three-plus things you should know in order to make an informed decision come election time.
Universal mail-in ballots are not the same as absentee ballots
We all know that this election year is different. Just about everyone has heard that due to COVID-19, we’ll all receive mail-in ballots. But few people truly understand what that means.
Democrat politicians claim they’re doing this to keep voters safe. However, Dr. Anthony Fauci, America’s favorite immunologist, has said that voting in person is perfectly safe if you wear a mask and keep your distance.
The Left usually dismisses criticism from the Right with the statement that “Americans have always voted by mail, so this is no different.”
Sometimes, if they are less charitable, they follow that statement with a snide comment about ridiculous conservative paranoia.
What they don’t tell you is, yes, we have always been able to vote by mail… but this time is different.
Your normal mail-in ballot is called an “absentee ballot”: You have to request it, and when you send it in, it will be accounted for under your name.
This is not the same as the universal mail-in ballots you’ll be receiving later this month.
For the general election, unsolicited mail-in ballots will be sent to every registered voter in Vermont, including those who have passed away, moved, or gotten married and changed their name.
It is estimated that as many as 160,000 “orphaned” ballots could end up floating around the state, ready to be picked up and filled out by just about anyone with malicious intent.
Which brings me to the next.
It is totally OK to go vote in person
Many voters believe because they will automatically receive a mail-in ballot, they are required to vote by mail — a belief that is strongly encouraged by the Left.
That is not the case.
It is perfectly fine and permitted to show up at your polling place on November 3 and vote in person.
In fact, I would encourage you to do so (unless you have a health condition that makes you especially vulnerable).
Nearly all Republicans are against universal mail-in ballots. And nearly all Democrats are for them.
So if voting in person is safe, and if those who can’t vote in person could request an absentee ballot—the safe kind of mail-in ballot—then why do we need universal mail-in ballots to be sent to everyone with a pulse (and some without)?
Planned voting manipulation is the only good reason that comes to mind.
Bullet voting — You don’t have to vote for multiple candidates
On a typical Vermont ballot, some categories will allow you to vote for only one candidate, like the office of governor. Other categories—like multi-seat Senate positions in large districts like Chittenden—might read, “Vote for no more than 2” or even “Vote for no more than 4.”
Often, voters take this as a mandate and obediently fill in all the allowed bubbles, even if there are only one or two candidates they really like.
Here’s what you need to know: Just because the ballot tells you to vote for no more than four, that doesn’t mean you must vote for four candidates.
You can even vote for just one candidate if you want. This does not invalidate your ballot and can be very effective in getting your top candidate elected.
So those are the three voting secrets you should know before making an informed decision this fall.
Well, actually, there is a fourth, and this is one the Democrats really don’t want you to know about.
Your Democrat state representative can’t represent you
Our state representatives are supposed to be the voice for their constituents — so when you pick the person you want for the Vermont House, you’d expect them to represent you once they get there.
A statement that I hear all the time from voters is, “I don’t vote Republican or Democrat — I vote the person, not the party.”
You might want to rethink that after you hear this little-known secret most legislators seem to be well aware of. Voters, on the other hand, have no clue — but they should.
Fact is, your local Democrat politicians may be lovely people. But no matter what they promise you and how sincere they seem, there’s one thing they cannot do: truly represent you.
The Democrat leadership in the House rules with an iron fist. Democrat state representatives are expected to vote as the party tells them to … or else.
Whenever a bill is up for a vote on the floor of the House, Democrat leadership will have a note on their desk reading YES or NO. That’s how all of the party’s legislators are supposed to vote, whether they want to or not.
If they don’t comply, they will be punished. I’ve heard stories of noncompliant representatives being yelled at, bullied, and threatened, as in, “If you don’t vote as we tell you to, we will find someone to run against you in the next primary.”
So even if your Democrat state representative is the nicest person on Earth, they won’t be able to keep their promises to you — unless they happen to align with what the leadership wants. Very few will revolt because the consequences are dire.
How do I know all this? I was told by several reliable sources who actually serve as Republicans in the Vermont House, independently from each other.
You see, Republicans in the Vermont House don’t have the same problem. The Republican leadership will discuss issues to be voted on, but — unlike the Democrats — they don’t coerce the state representatives to vote a certain way.
That means de facto Republican candidates for the House are the only ones that can truly do your bidding and be your voice in Montpelier. That’s why you might reconsider “voting for the person” and vote for the (right) party instead.