Todd Smith: Our vote for the Benning/Dwyer election ballot plan

By Todd Smith | The Caledonian Record

The first controversial issue to emerge in this strange legislative session centers on how to conduct elections this fall.

Secretary of State James Condos proposes to mail out absentee ballots to every person on the Vermont check list, with instructions and presumably a return envelope.

Gov. Phil Scott is concerned that under the direction of Condos, a Democrat, this procedure will open the door to partisan voter fraud. A promising technique for that chicanery is canvassers descending on voters the day these ballots arrive, urging them to vote for their favorite candidates (invariably liberals), and even offering to take the ballot, mark it, and send it back to be counted. This is called “vote harvesting.”

Todd Smith

Todd M. Smith is the publisher of the Caledonian Record.

For example, a large organization committed to sweeping measures to defeat climate change, including a carbon tax, could send its trained army of summer canvassers out, collect ballots, mark them for candidates committed to waging war on climate change, and send them in. Very helpful. Also very fraudulent.

The governor wants an impartial five-person panel to supervise this process. Condos of course wants control. We love Condos’ record on open government but have some residual questions about his impartiality based on his partisan record as a councilman in South Burlington and a Chittenden county Senator.

Caledonia-Orange Senator Joe Benning is arguing for a far better idea, backed by Lyndon town clerk Dawn Dwyer. They say send out post cards to all voters offering them the opportunity to apply for absentee ballots, as under current law.

We think Sen. Benning and Town Clerk Dwyer are exactly right. This process will cost much less and is essentially fraud proof, because the Board of Civil Authority in each town will examine and verify registered voters who apply.

The governor should back off from his five-person panel idea, insist on the application process that leaves town Boards of Civil Authority in charge of ballot verification, tell the Secretary of State to keep his hands off, and if necessary ask the legislature to back him up.

Todd M. Smith is the publisher of the Caledonian Record, where this editorial first appeared. He lives in St. Johnsbury.

Images courtesy of Flickr/justgrimes and Todd Smith
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5 thoughts on “Todd Smith: Our vote for the Benning/Dwyer election ballot plan

  1. VPIRG involvement in VT voting a recipe for disaster. Anyone remember their fraudulently conducted postcard-drive ‘survey’ including showboating of boxes of surveys piled high in State House steps:
    https://vtdigger.org/2015/12/01/activists-call-for-state-lawmakers-to-take-action-on-climate-change/
    VPIRG discredited carbon tax petition drive
    https://www.mountaintimes.info/vpirg-discredited-carbon-tax-petition-drive/
    https://vtdigger.org/2016/01/20/mark-higley-larry-fiske-vpirgs-postcard-drive-called-into-question/

  2. Guy Page has done quite a lot of work to get the opinions of Town Clerks.
    Remember, many of them are good Dem/Progs
    If their party wants mail-in, they likely would not talk against it.

    There are about 480,000 registered voters in Vermont, and in the 2016 presidential election year, which had a high turnout, just 67% of registered voters cast ballots.
    That means the Condos mail-in scheme, would lead to about 160,000 unclaimed or unwanted ballots.
    Many of them would be just floating around, for any unscrupulous, self-serving actors, such as VPIRG, to collect, fill out, and mail in.

    If that is not bad enough, just read this.

    Condos would not know if a fraud would occur, and neither do the Town Clerks.

    Condos can say, with a blank face, “fraud is very rare”, because only the most egregious fraud cases end up in court.

    In Vermont’s case, we are talking about SYSTEMIC fraud, which exists, because the system data base is flawed from the get-go.

    1) The Vermont voter lists are riddled with names of people who left Vermont, or have died, according to interviewed Town Clerks
    2) There likely are great deficiencies regarding up-to-date photo IDs, copies of birth certificates, and copies of citizen papers
    3) Much of that documentation likely does not exist in the Town Clerk files

    Condos, a Dem/Prog party fixture, likely know this, but he acts like he does not, or as if it is not a problem.

    Condos wants to INDISCRIMINATELY mail ballots to everyone on the voter lists, whether they want it or not, whether they want to vote to not, whether they belong on a list or not, whether they are properly documented or not.

    That, in itself, is fraudulent, because Condos likely knows about these corrupted lists and the document deficiencies, as do the Town Clerks.

    He calls his mail-in scheme “universal”, as if calling it “universal” makes it A-OK; sort of like “universal” health care. It has a nice “ring” to it.

    All this is a highly deceptive/fraudulent charade. Few are asking the hard questions. Those who do, get drowned out.

    When will sane Vermonters finally sound off about this travesty and malfeasance?
    When will the Vermont Media, defenders of the faith, wake up and show a conscious?

    Sending out postcards to all registered voters, as some Town Clerks, and Sen. Benning, suggested, is a great idea.
    The cards would advise/remind voters to REQUEST a regular absentee ballot, in case they are afraid to vote in NOVEMBER, MORE THAN FIVE MONTHS IN THE FUTURE!!!

    All Town Clerks already are highly familiar with the absentee ballot process. There would be: No learning curve; No excuses; No fuss; No muss.

    INDISCRIMINATE mail-in voting has been on the Vermont Dem/Prog agenda for years.
    Here comes along a golden opportunity to get it: THE OVERBLOWN VIRUS SCARE

    Interviewed Town Clerks say, “IF THERE IS A FRAUD, YOU ARE NOT GOING TO KNOW IT”.

    No wonder Condos has been saying there is no fraud.
    He does not know, and neither do the Town Clerks.

    NOTE: TSA and all airlines require a photo ID before they check you in, and are allowed on board.
    Voting is far more important than taking an airline trip.

    Requiring recent photo IDs, etc., is not voter suppression, It is PRUDENCE.

    The PAPER TRAIL is not just the ballot, but also the copies of valid/up-to-date documents on file at Town Clerk’s offices, such as: 1) a photo ID, and 2) a copy of Citizen Papers (which likely have an old photograph), and/or 3) a copy of a Birth Certificate.

    IF IN-PERSON VOTING, RECENT PHOTO ID, AND PROOF OF RESIDENCE (such as a property bill), MUST BE PRESENTED BEFORE VOTING

    IF ABSENTEE VOTING, RETURNED BALLOT MUST BE SIGNED IN THE PRESENCE OF A NOTARY, AND NOTARIZED, TO ENSURE ITS VALIDITY

  3. A good time to also push for verifiable Voter ID Which will go far to minimize any tendencies toward fraudulent voting.

  4. Condos get out of your ivory tower and join the real world, talk to grass routes Town Clerks and learn about the huge burden and expense (funded by tax payers) the mailed ballots will require. Won’t happen.

  5. Yes and yes again. I have often disagreed with Sen. Benning on approach not substance. But he is absolutely right on point here!

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