Commentary

Gassett: ‘Election Month’ replacing ‘Election Day’

by Nancy Gassett

The November 8 General Election Ballots have been mailed to all individual voters on all Vermont City and Town Voter Checklists under the  control of the Vermont Secretary of State’s Office.  

Vermont Town Clerks used to have control of the general election ballots mailing some to  those requesting absentee ballots and military ballots. The majority of ballots were held by  town clerks for use by voters in individual cities and towns as they came out to their polling  places on Election Day to cast their votes. 

The Vermont Election System was remade in May of 2021. The Vermont Legislature voted to  make permanent, the ALL Mail Election System that was used in Vermont during the Covid  Emergency. This election remake was voted on through Bill S.15 and passed with no  safeguards, security measures or Voter ID’s. 

An amendment to Bill S.15 was proposed in May of 2021 to put security measures in place for  Vermont’s ALL Mail Ballot System. Town clerks and the Vermont Director of Elections  testified there would be no way to police fraud to determine if a ballot was filled out and  returned by the appropriate voter. The Vermont Legislators voted down the proposed security  measures citing the amendment would delay the implementation of the ALL Mail Ballot  System in Vermont. 

In spite of the testimony of those who work directly on Vermont’s Elections and the problems  that arose as the ALL Mail Election System was first used in the General Election of 2020, the  Vermont Legislature hurriedly pushed through making the emergency voting measures  permanent.  

The General Election Ballots for November 8th, 2022 were mailed out approximately 3 weeks ago. Due to the reports of extra ballots and/or ballots mailed to persons at wrong addresses,  the Vermont GOP has instituted an Excess Ballot Reporting System on their website. 

Vermont Town Clerks are the persons who work most directly on voter checklists. Despite  their best efforts to purge their voter checklists, there will always be a percentage of voters on  their voter rolls that have not met the statutory requirements to be removed. This remains an  unaddressed problem with the implementation of the Vermont ALL Mail Ballot System as all voters on all voter checklists throughout Vermont are mailed ballots.

The Vermont Legislature’s remake of Vermont’s Election System was added to the previously  implemented State Mandate to use voting tabulator machines to count election votes. Before  the voting tabulator machines, paper ballots were counted in many cases, by Vermont citizens  in their own towns. Many Vermont voters do not trust machines to count their votes. If  allowed, they would choose to eliminate machines from the Vermont vote counting process. 

Vermont’s Election System allows same day Voter Registrations, DMV Voter Registrations,  Online Voter Registrations and Voter Registrations solicited by those other than election  officials. Many Vermonters are asking, what safeguards are there in place to stop non-citizens  from registering to vote? Both the United States and Vermont State Constitutions declare that  United States Citizenship is a requirement for a person to vote. 

What used to be an “Election Day” in Vermont has now been changed to more than an  “Election Month” as the Statewide ALL Mail Ballots are received approximately 40 days  before the actual designated Election Day on the second Tuesday in November.  

Another questionable practice added recently is the use of outside, unattended, ballot boxes  for the 24 hour dropping off of completed election ballots. There used to be a “chain of  custody” requirement for election ballots. That has been erased. 

Vermont Legislators voted down a Bill in June of 2020 to “Prohibit Ballot Harvesting.” This controversial practice allows campaign operatives/activists to collect election ballots from  voters and has at times resulted in improper influence over voters, the fraudulent filling out of  ballots and the destruction of ballots.  

Another questionable election practice called out in the Vermont Constitution is: Chapter II, Section 55 is (Freedom of Elections; Bribery) 

No person seeking to be elected is supposed to directly or indirectly give, promise, or bestow,  any reward as a connection to acquire votes. How many of our existing Vermont Elected  Officials use their offices and positions to do favors and give special treatment to individuals  to garner their continuous votes? 

With all of the varied practices and moving pieces that make up our present Vermont Election  System, is it a free, fair and pure System without corruption as our Vermont Constitution  Declares it will be? 

Article 8. (Elections to be Free and Pure; Rights of Voters therein) “That all Elections ought to be free and without corruption, and that all voters, having a  sufficient, evident, common interest with, and attachment to the community, have a right to  elect officers, and be elected into office, agreeably to the regulations made in this  Constitution.”

What can Vermont Citizens do to have a redress of this matter as the Vermont Constitution  allows? 

Article 20. of The Vermont Constitution (the Right to Assemble, Instruct and  Petition) “That “The People” have a right to assemble together to consult for their own  common good– to instruct their Representatives – and to apply to the Legislature for  Redress of Grievances, by address, petition or remonstrance.” 

Did your State Representatives and Senators vote YES in May of 2021 to the remaking of the  Vermont Election System? Do you agree with their voting? One way to bring accountability is  to VOTE OUT the Elected Officials who voted YES for the present Vermont Election System.  

Vermont Citizens can also choose to get involved. Sign up to be election workers and poll  watchers to bring accountability to elections. Run for elected office or Justice of the Peace in  your town to be a voice on your Town Board of Civil Authority. The latest version of Vermont  Election Laws is easily available online. Please consider looking them up and see for yourself  the tools that are available for Vermont citizen participation. 

It is our duty as Vermont citizens to hold our elected officials accountable to the law. Our Constitutional Republic cannot exist without citizen participation. 

Article 6. of the Vermont Constitution (Officers Servants of the People) “That all power being originally inherent in and consequently derived from the people,  therefore, all officers of government, whether legislative or executive, are their trustees and  servants; and at all times, in a legal way, accountable to them”. 

Our votes are our personal choices to play a part in selecting ethical, honest and lawful elected  leaders who will serve, “We The People.” Please participate, register to vote and exercise your Constitutional Privilege and Freedom to Vote. 

The author is a Vernon resident and candidate for the Vermont House of Representatives from the Vernon and Guilford district. 

Categories: Commentary

3 replies »

  1. The longer, the better! I just can’t get enough disingenuous politicians, double speak, minimizing problems, over stating problems, name calling, repetitive commercials, ugly lawn signs, and scare tactics ! Yes Sir! Thank you Sir, May I please have another month of it Sir ?

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