Vermont Democrats are conspiring with VPIRG to pull off a massive ballot harvesting operation

By Rob Roper

The three biggest advocates of a mail-in ballot election are Democrat Secretary of State Jim Condos, Democratic legislators, and Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG). The “election by mail” proposal they are pushing calls for mailing all active voters on the statewide checklist a “live” absentee ballot for the November 2020 election, regardless of the voter’s request.

Here’s the math. There are roughly 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 (and many of those still on the checklist are invalid voters having died or moved away). This means that the Condos/VPIRG vote-by-mail proposal, if allowed to move forward, will lead to something like 160,000 unclaimed or unwanted ballots just floating around — for any unscrupulous actors to collect, fill out and mail in.

Rob Roper is the president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

There are no meaningful safeguards or mechanisms in place to detect or track down, and therefore prosecute, anyone who illegally fills out an absentee ballot, or multiple ballots, in someone else’s name. As the St. Johnsbury Town Clerk Stacy Jewell admitted in a recent interview when asked if she had seen any cases of vote-by-mail during the previous election, “Not that we would know. Like I said, you’re not gonna know.”

So, who would take advantage of 160,000 “floater” ballots plus hundreds of thousands more confused Vermont voters suddenly receiving absentee ballots they didn’t request?

In January, VPIRG announced that they were forming a Political Action Committee, VPIRG Votes, described as the “political campaign arm” of the left-wing organization. According to VPIRG Executive Director Paul Burns, “The PAC would go door to door in the fall to canvass for [“pro-climate”] candidates and encourage people to vote, said Burns (VTDigger 1/21/20). And maybe they’ll help those confused folks to fill out their ballots and collect the unclaimed ones in the process.

A partisan PAC, organized for going door to door “encouraging” people to vote for just “pro-climate” candidates, after that same group advocated heavily for an all-mail election, looks an awful lot like a planned, systematic “ballot harvesting” operation.

Ballot harvesting is the process by which campaign operatives go door to door collecting absentee ballots and remitting them to polling places. In some states this is illegal, such as North Carolina where a 2018 election in that state’s 9th congressional district was invalidated due to the practice. In other states, like California, the practice allowed. In all cases it is unethical.

During testimony before the Senate Government Operations Committee on May 26, Sen. Brian Collamore (R-Rutland) asked regarding ballot harvesting in Vermont, “Is there anything to prevent an individual, could be a candidate or not, or a group or association, for offering to pick up completed ballots and bring them into their town clerk’s office or a polling place or to mail them?”

Deputy Secretary of State Chris Winters answered, after a long, awkward pause, “The current law does, I believe, allow for that.” So, ballot harvesters, start your engines!

If third parties were simply going around providing a service of collecting and handing in legitimate absentee ballots like some kind of volunteer postal service, that might be OK. However, in North Carolina collectors pressured citizens into voting for their preferred candidates, stole ballots and filled them out themselves, and destroyed the ballots of those voting against their preferred candidates. This is a practice easily abused. More so when the chief election official of the state is in league with the probable perpetrator of the activities, blithely assuring the public that “there is no fraud in Vermont,” nothing to see here.

We have a situation here in which the special interest group, VPIRG, with a $2 million a year plus budget, is lobbying the Legislature to pass a bill that will allow them to aggressively ballot harvest — legally and potentially illegally — on behalf of the majority party in that Legislature, which is all too eagerly clearing the path for them to do so, with the Chief Election Officer of the state, also of the majority party, putting his stamp of approval on the scheme. On a party line vote, the Senate Government Operations Committee just moved a bill that would strip Governor Scott of his ability to block vote by mail.

Vermont already has a very easy absentee ballot program — by voter request — in place and allows for 45 days of early voting. About 30% to 40% of Vermont voters already take advantage of this system. There is no need to mail every active registered voter a live ballot, flooding the state with unclaimed, unwanted ballots. If we are going to see a heavier reliance on vote-by-mail, either under the present system or the Condos/VPIRG scheme, Republicans and honest citizens should at least demand that ballot harvesting be made clearly, unambiguously illegal before November.

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of Flickr/justgrimes

31 thoughts on “Vermont Democrats are conspiring with VPIRG to pull off a massive ballot harvesting operation

  1. I received my ballots for the primary and the instructions state to send back the unused ballots or my vote will be cancelled. I can understand that, however, what do they do with the returned ballots? I had sent a message to Condos, via the website contact form, asking if it would be a good idea to write VOID across each of the unused ballots before returning them. Guess what ? No reply so what does that tell you? I also sent an email to the town clerk asking what they do with the returned unused ballots and I received the same response…NONE

  2. Vermonters did not rise up en masse to demand this change. It is not a grassroots movement. It is totally top down. Our legislators did it in stealth mode using the quarantine as cover for their behind-the-scenes machinations. The fact that they did it this way, plus VPIRG’s involvement, plus the fact that the envelopes for mailing the ballots have apparently already been printed, plus removing input from the sitting governor, tells us all that this is a Progressive ballot harvesting scheme by mail. There is no way to tell if voter fraud is being committed. It is a naked attempt at election fixing by a political Mafia. Democracy? What Democracy? The Republic? What Republic? This is a cabal bent on seizing power and trampling all over the Constitutions of Vermont and the USA and our rights as citizens. They are oligarchs. This, coupled with their full steam ahead push to legalize abortion right up to the moment of birth, tells us we are living in a state of soft tyranny. And, by the way, it is not up to us to prove there will be no voter fraud. It is up to the people who want the drastic change from the current system to prove it to us. But they can’t. All they can say is that it won’t happen. Sorry, that doesn’t cut it. Do not do this!

  3. Why is VPIRG allowed or even considered to do anything with an election. Do you guys realize when they have us fighting each other they win? We aren’t focused.

    • Disagreeing isn’t what I call fighting. All attempts to silence and censor should receive pushback. What we are facing is mass control of the populous against our constitution via government complete with cheerleaders courtesy of those who are closet supporters – and I’ll be damned if I stand by and say nothing.

      • Mass masking is being done to hoi polloi us into subservience – I refuse to follow diktat from the Chinese Communist Party via WHO and the likes of Fauci-the-fraud and CDC Deb Birx on record as saying she ‘hopes we don’t need to be shut down again’.

        And the elites aren’t wearing them! The “They” who are causing the fighting are the collectivists selfrighteously demanding that all stay home, obey each and every command w/o question…because it’s “the right thing to do”. Once again its the Dems against the conservatives making it another politically driven commandment.

        Tho its the leftists they currently reside under the Democrat banner and unfortunately have plenty of help from the Rinos.

        And sick and tired of being sick and tired of blame as a voter for what is happening in VT – the election of communists in our government aligned w/the communist UN. Hey guess what – I didn’t vote for these jackas*es. College students from other states should not be allowed to vote in VT elections – they gave us Comrade Sanders and his crazy wife and very likely the cause of election shifting.

        Allowing out-of-state homeowners courtesy of Jim Condos should be ended. Motor Voter which auto-signs all w/a drivers license including illegal aliens also needs to end.

      • So, I read some time ago, and why it stuck in my head, who knows.

        The comment sections and replies, bantering etc. are done out for people to think and feel they have done something. They have posted their position, done their duty.

        Meanwhile our education system is in shambles and nobody can think as we are only programmed. Speaking of which, the feeds of “news’ from the left is stoking the hate and division and creating our riot and enflaming them. It is ALL written out for those who are curious to see.

        Ben Schapiro has a good point. Don’t ever expect to change somebodies mind in and argument, it’s really for the people watching to learn from.

        In Vermont we need to do.

        For complex change we need to come together. There is no group of people with a vision, skills, supportive internally, with resources and an action plan. We have much in the way of pride, Vermont is filled with pride, ego and a lack of understanding of what is going on.

        I can feel your frustration, you know, you can see…..and it’s as if we have to watch our state collapse. The task is huge, their power, coordination and reach impressive to say the least. Hopefully our state can be filled with a new spirit otherwise we’ll be marching down the same path now decades old.

        When we fight them, when we fight internally, we lose they win. It is in their plan. We could swim down stream, let them implode internally with strife and infighting. The path is ours to chose. Why we chose to lose all the time I know not.

        • Personally not trying to change anyones mind and our enemies do not win when fight them or having reasoned debates – they are losers or they are nothing on a good day and could not care less what they think. Just bringing it from where I stand as the other commenters here.

          Not ‘frustrated’ at all – simply reject all forms of censorship including go-along-to-get-alongism. And leaving VT no matter who is elected. Democrat and Progressive parties aligned w/corrupt media and including state agencies = machine politics which can rear its ugly head at any point in time.

          Anyone who believes commenting exists solely to make ppl feel like they’re doing something does not care about or respect the role of free speech or the power of average citizens to have a voice or opinion and a pretty sad commentary – as if this is why our education system and other systems are failing. Commenting in print or digitally *is* doing something – it’s a form of publishing and we need more not less imo. Checking thru the national online publications and TNR learn as much if not more from other commenters than the publications themselves.

          As the Democrat establishment and media esp here in VT has turned our state into a leftwing echochamber I’m very appreciative of the articles, op-eds and comments from TNR platform. Have noticed lots of new and different commenters and stories from varied walks of life and think it’s great – this should be encouraged not discouraged.

          Did not vote McCain or Romney but Obama and not sorry. We do not need to come together to vote. Supporting John Klar and refuse to vote for Chancellor Scott. Do plan to vote the roster of conservative hopefuls. Did DJT ‘come together’ w/the party? Not at first. He took on other Republicans, COC collectivists and assorted Rinos.

          Also took on the Dems tho he was in fact a NY liberal and donor including the Clintons. And if that’s not enough entire UN, their globalist goons and NWO as well as China, Russia, Iran, EU, Mexico and Canada – because he’s not a collectivist coward.

  4. Great example of the end justifies the means. The Dems will do whatever it takes. If it requires abusive behavior or even illegal activities no matter. Whatever it takes. The vocal minority strikes again. The time has come for the silent majority to RISE UP and send responsible, clear thinking, folks with plain ole common sense to Montpelier. Hope springs eternal.

    • Yes, and that includes people unlike you who will firmly stand for the Constitutions and all our rights, unabridged for any reason. What do you have to say to that?

      • Look Ken, we get that you have something personal against this guy, but give it a rest. You disagree on the lock-down, which is completely understandable. But honestly, it’s getting pretty sad that you attack every single post he makes, regardless of his stance on an issue… and it appears Mike has varied opinions on a lot of things, which most free thinking people do. We all aren’t going to agree on everything, but infighting when we clearly agree on something as ill conceived as this mail in voting scheme is unhelpful at best.

        • Why are you not going after Mikes routine attacks using baseless accusations and outright lies? Who is your mysterious little army of “we” – do you need one? And looks like you’re the only one ‘infighting’ here.

          Your BFF Mike attacks everyone who dares write anything which in any way opposes lockdown agenda of paymaster Phil – however carefully evens the score by hitting R sweet-spots – and as such deserves to be challenged.

          • And unless mistaken you’ve attacked me also – suggest you take your anger-management meds prior to posting?

          • I’d bet my bottom dollar you’re not a conservative if I had a bottom dollar to bet – and hence the real problem here imho – ppl generally do not attack those they’re aligned with so attacking me and also Ken appears primarily bc both present constitutionalist conservative views – the ones who generally cause the commies to go crazy. Here it is:

            Chris April 10, 2020 at 10:30 am
            I’m sorry stardust, but I really think you could be more selective with your sources. Gateway Pundit, while entertaining, is widely known as an unreliable news source
            (see link at the end of my comment) .

            I’m no liberal, in fact I’m a lifeling a lifelong republican, a military member, and proud constitutional conservative. But, I also value facts and solid research, as it almost always ends up validating my intuition anyway, since I’m not a loony lefty! You may do well to simply leave your arguments at those based in fact, such as the FACT that TJ Donovan appears to be a power hungry self serving bureaucrat that could care less about the constitutions of our great state and country if they don’t serve his agenda… and that this lockdown might be a GOOD IDEA, and SUGGESTION from the government, it nevertheless is ILLEGAL if enforced by criminal penalty. Give people the facts and it’s amazing what they will do on their own.

            I also find it interesting that many keep noting how low the death rate is, and using it as a reason for this all being a massive conspiracy or over-reaction. Well, to me it makes a lot of sense it is low so far… since we have all been locked in our houses for weeks. While we can’t ever know what our hospitals may have looked like without the shutdowns, arguing that this was all overkill based on current state seems completely illogical. As someone who just lost a family member who was otherwise healthy to COVID-19 (a voting republican and veteran I might add), I can attest that this disease is very real, and should be treated with proper respect and caution. Does that mean shutting down entire states that may not have a single case, likely no. But it doesn’t mean we should brush it off either, or assume the current state of affairs wasn’t a prudent approach at least temporarily while more data could be gathered about this deadly disease.

            With love and respect,


          • Aaand…from your prior post – proof positive you’re firmly in Comrade Scott’s camp and in agreement w/Mike – busted! 😉

          • Ok dude, really not trying to argue here. I will say though it appears you aren’t reading my posts all the way through. In both cases that you reference (my post today and the one you dug up) I was disagreeing with “Mike”. I called TJ Donovan a “power hungry self serving bureaucrat that could care less about the constitutions of our great state and country”… and clearly stated that the lockdown is illegal. Not sure how that lops me in with Mike, nor why it would cause you to infer that I’m a commie…

            “We” the first time – as in all people in the world (or at least reading the site), won’t agree on everything.

            “We” the second time – Myself, “Mike”, and “Ken”, all agree that vote in mailing will be a disaster, so I suggested we leave it at that and leave the arguments about the “lockdown” out of it.

            As for anger management, I made one post encouraging people to be civil and work together to stop what is obviously a ploy by leftists to subvert the election process. Was it my place to call out Ken… no not really. I had just taken notice lately that we was making a point to “Call Mike out” every time he wrote something, whether it was lockdown related or not, which I thought might be counterproductive.

            You are all free to write whatever you want.

        • Mike’s stands that appear to be reasonable are, at best, hypocritical. He is fundamentally a supporter of Phil Scott without any opposition on any issue. Where it counts the most is in regard to suspension/deletion of Constitutional rights and the killing of babies, both of which he advocates. No one who takes those stands has any credibility in any other conservative issues and has no valid claim to being a Republican. Moreover, I know a bit more about “Mike” than most people here and it’s important that people realize he has a long background in the media and government as a policy shill.

          • Thanks for replying Ken, since I was talking to you after all. Like I’ve said, I don’t know the guy, nor do I carry anyone’s water. I just noticed a trend and thought maybe common ground could be found. The context you provided helps and I appreciate it. God bless

          • Common ground is not achieved by demanding those we disagree with to stop disagreeing – it’s called censorship and practiced by authoritarians. Which is what entire thread is about – the stealing of our election through unusual and fraudulent means silencing those who are resisting totalitarian control.

      • And that goes for our Democrat Governor and consummate communist Comrade Phil – what are ya gonna do when your boss bites the political dust and you’re out of a job…maybe he lets you do his laundry and park his car lol

        • I assume this is directed towards me again? Phil Scott isn’t my boss, I work for Donald J Trump, the best president we’ve had in a looooooong time, and I love it.

          I’m not sure why you think I love Phil Scott? I’ve only posted on here a few times, and I’m quite certain I’ve never sung his praises…

          • Pick the fight then claim to ‘not want to argue’. Attempt to obfuscate duly noted. Portrayal of events is false as is the timeline. Prevarication and equivocation the province of sophistry. Defended the lockdown while undefending it – FYI: aka known as doubletalk. Everything being discussed is right here on this page – so references used are incorrect.

            Slammed Ken by using the term ‘we’ – generally used to intimidate – that would be ‘I’ unless others are included – just asking who the others are. Attacked both Ken and me in different threads, use Dem tactics which is not typical of conservatives even on a bad day.

            And no you were not disagreeing with but staunchly defending Mike – another supporter of Benedict Scott policies, tho he attacks everyone who calls out lockdown and Wuhan Flu as the hoax it is. But don’t take my word – it’s all right here.

          • No it’s not. I don’t believe you work for DJT either – are you sure you’re not a VT legislator lol.

            And your silly slamming of me for referencing TGP odd considering your claim to be conservative as they are a major DJT supporter as it was entire reason for first comment. Then claiming TGP is “widely known as an unreliable news source” which is complete BS – validated by adding the link to a leftwing factchecker to further reveal stripes. Food for thot *sigh*

          • Ok bud, you got me, I’m a total commie. I’m off to Starbucks to enjoy a global warming rally…. Have a good night

  5. What’s truly unfortunate isn’t the use of absentee or mail-in ballots. It’s the hypocrites who believe the ends (in this case – desired election results) justify the means. Sometimes absentee ballots are good, sometimes they’re bad. It depends on the desired results. As Samuel Adams famously said: “How strangely will the Tools of a Tyrant pervert the plain Meaning of Words!”

    Here’s a thought. Mail every registered voter a ballot via certified mail (return receipt required). Each person receiving the ballot must show an ID, the same way they do when they buy cigarettes and alcohol. If no one signs for the ballot, return it to the sender (i.e. the Sec. of State). After two or three unsuccessful attempts at delivery, purge the voter checklist.

    When I floated this idea previously, critics claimed it wouldn’t work because public officials (State. Local and USPS) can’t be trusted. If that’s the case, forget elections. Anarchy is a whole different ballgame.

  6. Great article!! We already have Voter Fraud here in Vermont it me less than an hour to find proof of it and many people have been contacted about it including the high up in Montpelier promise made but nothing done. This mail in voting is the disaster of the century waiting to happen. Real folks running will never get elected and our government will be filled with whoever they want .. something really needs to be done to take our state back!!

  7. Great Article Rob, Great Article, bet you don’t see any of this in Digger or 7 days.


    Here is another classic example of outside money running and ruining our state!

    If we had the scum bag tax (we could have fun trying to name it) where by we tax PORN, PAC;s and LOBBYISTS…..guess what the VPIRG would have 80% less in their budget and our state would have the money to spend on our deficit.

    The currency is power and money, it is not Love, Joy, Peace or Freedom.

    Our state is completely controlled by these unelected groups…….they can’t vote, yet they will have millions to change our state.

    TAX – PORN- PAC’s-LOBBYISTS Set Vermont free, allow our Republic to function.

  8. There will be 160,000 ballots floating around Vermont for about 45 days?
    You have got to be kidding me.

    Of course there will be harvesting those ballots by VPIRG, et al, and Condos/Winters, et al., know it.

    If that is not bad enough, just read this.

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

    Only the most egregious fraud cases end up in court.
    As a result, Condos/Winters can say, with a blank face, “fraud is very rare”.
    It looks like they have no concept of what is a fraud.

    In this case, we are talking about SYSTEMIC fraud, which exists, because the system is flawed from the get-go.

    The Vermont voter lists are riddled with names of people who left Vermont, or who have died, according to interviewed Town Clerks, who prefer to remain anonymous.

    There are great deficiencies regarding up-to-date photo IDs, copies of birth certificates, copies of citizen papers, say the Town Clerks.

    Much of that documentation does not exist in the Town Clerk files, say the Town Clerks.

    Condos/Winters have to know this, but they act like they don’t.
    Deniability/CYA is the name of the game.
    They are just whistling past the graveyard.

    Condos/Winters wants to INDISCRIMINATELY mail ballots to every Tom, Dick and Harry on the voter lists, whether they belong there or not, whether they are properly documented or not.

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

    They misleadingly call their mail-in scheme “universal”, as if THAT makes it OK; sort of like “universal” health care (you get care whether you pay or not).

    All this is far beyond rational, in fact highly deceptive/fraudulent.

    When will still-sane Vermonters finally sound off about this travesty and malfeasance.
    If I were Governor, I would bar Condos from his office.

    Enough is enough.
    Go ply your shenanigans elsewhere.

    Sending out postcards to all registered voters is a great idea, advising them 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.

    No learning curve.
    No excuses.
    No fuss, no muss.

    • Little wonder that these folks are salivating at the prospect of filing ballots from ineligible voters to insure the election of more Lib/Prog/Dems to forward their destructive agenda. Last time I looked, it’s highly ILLEGAL!!!! . Oh well not to worry, the means justifies the end. Sad, sad state of affairs!!!!!

  9. Rob
    Thank you for your insights on a hastily thought out proposed voting process. What better process than to have our local town clerks oversee the election integrity process. They have a balanced cadre of Local elected Justice s of the Peace to vet and confirm all the voters. Anybody that requests an absentee ballot is certainly entitled to one. The clerks then verify each ballot against the town checklist. All in all a pretty secure process developed over centuries by Vermonters.
    Who is this Condos to trifle with our sacred time honored process? Every Vermonter should be outraged at this attempt to subvert our sacred traditions and institutions.

    • It’s not hastily thought, it was and is completely planned, by new world order pimps who want to manipulate our elections. Notice their is only one answer? Their idea?

      We could easily have voting booths sanitized for every voter, increase the number and spacing, aside from already proven that it doesn’t create a health spike.

      Condos job is to secure the vote, he’s not a doctor, people need to stay on their lane.

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