Middlebury College political science professor Matthew Dickinson (left) and VT GOP activist Jay Shepard both engaged callers questioning the integrity of the upcoming presidential election on the WVMT Morning Drive call-in program.
By Michael Bielawski
Three calls spanning two consecutive episodes of the WDEV Morning Drive Radio Show last week featured listeners complaining that the current status of election integrity in the nation and the state is discouraging. One caller declared “I know [my vote] doesn’t count.”
Meanwhile at least one local media personality is downplaying such concerns in his social media postings.
The first caller of two in a row occurred when Matt Dickinson a Political Science Professor at Middlebury College was a guest on the show last week on Thursday. He posted later that day on X (formerly Twitter), “A couple of callers suggested they were inclined not to vote because of the purported fraud – how can you trust the election outcomes they said? #georgiasenate”.
On the show Dickinson explained that he thought Georgia’s most recent US Senate races were determined at least in part by the perception (he doesn’t comment on whether he thinks it’s true or not) that US elections are currently compromised.
The caller who didn’t identify himself said, “As long as there’s any question about how authentic the election is, it’s all a moot point, I believe. And this thing about voter IDs, they should be shown. And as long as there are all the mail-in ballots that are going in there, there’s going to be a question about how authentic anything is.”
The host asked if being discouraged would keep him from voting.
“Oh no I am still going to vote but I’m looking at it through slanted eyes,” he said. “I think there’s more than enough evidence to show that this has gotta get cleaned up. The fact that nobody’s addressing it is something that bothers me.”
The next caller suggested there needs to be national standards when it comes to issues like voter ID.
“Why is it so complicated to get a national voting procedure for all federal elections, where all federal elections for Senate, Congress, and president you present a voter ID?” she said. “That would solve the whole darn thing and people could go back to feeling like their vote counts. Because I vote and I know it doesn’t count, and it is a moot point.”
Dickenson says there is “just no documented evidence” of fraud during US elections. He does not acknowledge the 1,400-plus cases proven and documented at the Heritage Foundation website.
The next episode of the show on Friday featuring Jay Shepard, Vermont’s Republican Committee representative, got yet another call concerning election integrity.
“I think number one I’m not hearing anybody wanting to promote people in the legislature or election reform. So I’m leary of it but I just don’t have much hope,” the caller said.
Shepard sympathized with the caller’s concerns about elections.
“And I don’t believe that we’ve seen enough changes as far as the election integrity part of it goes, I think we all want free and fair elections and I’m not sure anything has changed since the last election,” he said.
Local media personality suggests to only side with Biden’s narratives
While the public is engaged in increasing skepticism regarding election integrity, some local media are trying to downplay such notions. Local journalist Kevin Ellis, who co-hosts a WDEV radio show, The Vermont Viewpoint, has shared a social media post on X (formally Twitter) suggesting that journalists should only side with the Democrat narratives concerning the 2020 election or the subsequent January 6 protests.
Ellis calls the assertions by CNN’s White House correspondent John Harwood in the video “valuable” on his X account.
Harwood says, “I also think it’s important to say that a core point that [Biden] made in that political speech about [Trump being] a threat to democracy is true, now that’s not something that’s easy for us as journalists to say.
“We’re brought up to believe that there’s two political parties and two different points of view and we don’t take sides in honest disagreements between them, but that’s not what we’re talking about. We do not have honest disagreements. The Republican Party right now is led by a dishonest demagogue.”
Harwood offers no consideration that the majority of Americans suspect fraud is impacting US federal elections in major polls such as by Rasmussen.
Harwood continues, “Many, many Republicans are rallying around his lies about the 2020 election and other things as well. And a significant portion or a sufficient portion of the constituency that they are leading attacked the Capital on January 6 violently.”
The author is a reporter for the Vermont Daily Chronicle