Must-see video! Chelsea Ferland debuts as ballot-stuffing little old lady
by Guy Page
August 5, 2020 – Episode 25 of the acclaimed Vermont policy video series ‘Travels with Charlie’ takes on the issue of universal voting by mail.
As a voter approaches host Charlie Papillo’s voting booth on the lawn of the Vermont State House, he asks, “excuse me but what are you doing with all those ballots?”
“I’m voting for my dog, Lilly. She’s running for Catcatcher,” the woman – played by Chelsea Ferland of St. Albans – responds.
“Where did you get all those ballots?,” asks Charlie. “In the trash at the nursing home in the trash at the nursing home,” she replies. When Charlie tells her she’s only supposed to vote once, she replies, “I am – only I’m just doing it 38 times.”
Chelsea is the daughter of TWC producer Brad Ferland of St. Albans, a longtime Vermont policy advocate and strategist. He’s also the president of the Vermont Energy Partnership.
The episode then moves to a discussion between Papillo, universal vote-by-mail plan architect Secretary of State Jim Condos, and former Vermont legislator Paul Dame. As a response to the pandemic, the Vermont Legislature passed a law (with Condos’ approval) requiring Condos to send a general election ballot to every active registered voter. The bill was supported by virtually every Democrat, but saw some opposition among Republicans, who are concerned about the potential for fraud.
Recently, Vermont town clerks have reported spoiled ballots due to voters being unable to follow the detailed instructions about signing and sending the ballots in their proper envelopes. Any of these errors will result in the vote not counting, voting officials say.
I don’t believe it’s a partisan issue at all,” Condos said during the discussion segment of Episode 25. “In fact if you look at across the country the state of Utah is a universal vote-by-mail state and no one would say that they were blue in any way. They have a Republican House, a Republican Senate and a Republican governor. Here in Vermont the bill passed with strong tri-partisan support.”
When Dame ran for state senate in 2018, “I moved within Chittenden County to another town so I stood in front of the polling place in Essex. I’ve been voting there for six or eight years. If I had gone in and said ‘I’m here to vote,’ everyone would have thought that was normal. I didn’t do that because I didn’t live in that town. I went to St. George where I had moved and I did my same-day registration. I was kind of surprised at what little degree there was to make sure that I hadn’t there was no way for that town clerk in St. George to know that I hadn’t voted already that same day in Essex.”
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