by Guy Page
Six days after the August 9 primary election, Vermonters still officially don’t know the party nominees for state senate and county positions such as sheriff, state’s attorney, side judge, and high bailiff.
As chair of the House committee overseeing the 2022 redistricting bill, Democratic nominee for Secretary of State Sarah Copeland-Hanzas is responsible for the problem, VT GOP Chair Paul Dame said.
“Never before has a Secretary of State candidate been responsible for an election problem BEFORE they even entered the general election, but this Democrat will,” Dame said. “In this case Copeland-Hanzas’s desire to create a partisan gerrymandered map has caused new confusion and now election delays.”
“For the first time in recent memory Vermont’s county elections were not certified on time Friday. They have already been rescheduled twice, and later today we will find out if the official results may be delayed yet again,” Dame said. “With the statewide canvass scheduled on Tuesday, another delay could create a new unprecedented situation tomorrow.”
Vermont Daily Chronicle has emailed the Copeland-Hanzas campaign for comment. The Vermont Secretary of State’s office does lay the blame on “technology issues as a result of Legislative redistricting.”
This error is attributable to the gerrymandering that occurred under the leadership of the Democrat’s new Secretary of State candidate Sarah Copeland-Hanzas, Dame alleged.
By taking the unprecedented step of splitting towns into different State Senate districts to achieve partisan advantages for Progressives (at the expense of moderate Democrats) Copeland-Hanzas has compromised a previously efficient and reliable system.
This new Chittenden Central district is causing most of the problems, because Progressive Democrats who are trying to tilt the Senate as far left as possible have created a single senate district that cut across town lines in three different municipalities. This has also created an unneccesary burden for the local town and city clerks related to separate ballots, Dame said.
Copeland-Hanzas in her role as Chair of House Government Operations Committee had immediately rejected the tri-partisan common sense plan for a State Senate map which would have likely avoided this confusion and delivered us the reliable certification process Vermonters have been used to, Dame said.
In a Secretary of State’s office email received 11 AM Friday, SOS “announced the postponing of the canvassing of the 2022 State Senate and County Office Primary Election results due to technology issues as a result of Legislative redistricting.”
The Election Management System software contractor continues to work on a solution to be able to produce reports based on the official return of votes submitted by the Clerks, the SOS statement said.
“It is important to note that this process is separate and distinct from the official counting of ballots and the local certification of official results by the Town Clerks. The Secretary of State’s office would like to assure the public that these administrative delays do not impact the 100% confidence we have in the accuracy of the vote totals for all candidates as reported by the Town Clerks,” the SOS said.
The Secretary of State’s mission is to provide a secure and accurate election. The office will always default to a delay to ensure integrity and confidence of the results when they are certified.
The canvassing process is a careful and deliberate process defined in statute. There are numerous checks to ensure that the canvassed results accurately match the will of Vermont voters as reported by the Town Clerks.
Updated from August 12 news story