VT election chief: ballot fraud hard to stop, impossible to reverse

by Rob Roper

At the January 14 meeting of the Senate Government Operations Committee, Senator Brian Collamore (R-Rutland) asked Vermont Director of Elections, Will Senning, about a woman arrested for election fraud in Texas.

The story in question involved Raquel Rodriquez of Texas who was caught engaging in “election fraud, illegal voting, unlawfully assisting people voting by mail and unlawfully possessing an official ballot.” Collamore wanted to know if similar actions, if they occurred in Vermont, could be detected and prosecuted.

For a specific example, the senator asked, “If I were to have filled out my wife’s ballot, and/or my son’s, which arrived without them asking for it… what security measures are in place now whereby we could even know that, let alone remedied it, and prosecuted me, quite frankly.”

Senning responded (watch the video at the 1:49:00 mark), “It’s 100% a fair question, Senator Collamore, and if you were willing to forge the signature of your wife and/or your son – so you fill out their ballot for them, put it in that certificate envelope, and sign their name for them in some kind of manner that you plan will not be noticed by your town clerk as looking too much like your signature… it’s likely that that ballot will get processed and that your wife and/or son would be checked off the checklist as having voted at that point. The most significant check there… is then if your wife or son showed up to vote on election day, their name would be checked off the check list because the clerks are very diligent about keeping track of who they’ve received a ballot back from. That’s where questions would start to be raised and the issue would start to be looked into at that point. We had instances of that this year…. But it’s really that one ballot for one voter that brings that to light at the time of the election. You can’t get the vote back, but you can at least potentially go and prosecute the person for voting on another person’s ballot.”

This is problematic on so many levels.

Senning admits that if someone filled out a ballot for another person, it would be processed and counted. There is no signature verification in Vermont, so even if, as Senning said, the signature looked suspicious odds are very much against any sort of challenge. Later he testified on another question about spoiled ballots, “Signed is signed, whether it matches your name on the official checklist on not.” (2:04:00 in response to Ram’s questions about names matching.) You could sign you ballot “Donald Duck” and it won’t be challenged. 

The only real clue that something is amiss is if the real voter shows up on election day only to find out that a ballot has already been cast in their name. Senning testified, “We had instances of that this year.” We need to know exactly how many instances! But more importantly, this clearly illustrates that if someone fills out a fraudulent ballot in the name of a NON-voter, there is no chance whatsoever the fraud would be detected. There is no mechanism in place to detect fraud of this kind.

Senning admits fraudulent votes were counted in this election. “You can’t get the vote back, but you can at least potentially go and prosecute the person for voting on another person’s ballot.”

So, We had instances of detected double voting in one person’s name occur and an admission that the fraudulent votes were not – indeed could not be – removed from the total vote count. How many? And who was attempting to commit fraud? The voter on the checklist trying to vote twice, once by mail and once in person, or someone who stole the ballot of a legitimate voter? How are these investigations going and how many does Senning believe will actually end with a prosecution?

These huge gaps in security only address one example of potential fraud. The other things that the woman from Texas engaged in – bribing someone to vote a certain way, “unlawfully assisting” people to vote, etc. – could not be detected, remedied, and prosecuted either. How can we have faith in election outcomes when this is the case?

– Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

7 replies »

  1.  The idea of mail in ballots is in my opinion a double edged sword. In the town where I live (and I suspect some other towns) people of a certain political persuasion  have been able to exercise control over the process of Town Meeting by packing a very limited sized venue with like minded people. Town Meeting in the school, which has a capacity of about 200 people. There are about 1200 registered voters in the town. Every year there is a contentious, warned item for a “charitable contribution” to the Kellogg Hubbard Library. For the past 20 years or so, (since the library’s addition) our town has been sending a “contribution”  (I refer to it as “tribute”) to this Library. At Town Meeting a couple of years ago a citizen asked about submitting a lesser amount (I believe it was $15,000) than the amount asked for by the Library ($27,000). A representative from the Library that was at Town Meeting, stated that it was the full amount, or nothing. If we go to a mail in ballot for Town Meeting there is little doubt in my mind that this “charitable contribution” will go bye, bye ! Yeh !!!!    
       I am sure that there are other local issues that would be likewise affected, and in some cases that may not be such a bad thing, but mail in ballots on a national or even State wide scale ? I hope to God we never do this again ! The debacle (a mail in election) that this country was just put through for the supposed safety of all, given the COVID epidemic, was at best a learning experience, and quite possibly given the known, proven ways of mitigating the dangers, a contrived situation to fix an election, and defraud the country of a duly elected president. Politicians are in my opinion, for the most part, a sorry lot, out for personal gain, and not to be trusted any more that you have too. To change processes for an election with the ramifications of a presidential election is ludicrous.Never again ! (I hope) !)

  2. If voter fraud is admittedly hard to stop fraud,then why was it used,upheld,and even considered to be used at any tine or place in a republic?! We the people need to make sure our voice is heard!!

  3. I’d like to put an anecdotal reference to mail-in voting in a state-wide context.

    On January 5th, 2021, the Westminster, VT electorate held a town wide Australian Ballot vote on whether or not its school district should withdraw from the newly formed union district imposed on it by the State’s Act 46 governance. It’s a contentious issue that, arguably, more closely affects Westminster voters than any other issue under consideration. 258 votes were cast. Mail-in voting was also allowed.

    Now, according to State records, for the 2020 November election, 2395 ballots were mailed (unsolicited) to Westminster voters and 1174 were cast. Not only are there more mail-in ballots not cast than were cast, ballots cast in the November election exceeded the number of ballots cast in the January election by 455%. And the ballots sent, unsolicited, to Westminster voters, in November, exceeded the number of ballots cast in January by 928%.

    You can review the number of unsolicited ballots sent to voters in November, compared to votes cast by individual towns at this web site.


    Is it any wonder why the current level of apathy exists?

    Make no mistake: voter fraud is not difficult to stop, by any measure. That the potential alone for fraud exists to this extent is a reflection on those who manage the voting system, from Secretary of State Condos, to Vermont Director of Elections, Will Senning, to all of Vermont’s Town Clerks, to the Boards of Civil Authority who count the votes. And if you ask any one of them why they allow this to happen, the best you get is a shrug of the shoulders.

    For example, in 2018, Rob Roper pointed out that: “The vote fraud case in Victory, Vermont, concluded with eleven “voters” being removed from the town checklist. For the small Vermont community, this means a full 13 percent of registered voters were illegitimate, and these illegitimate votes were more than enough to alter the outcomes of elections. What’s truly alarming about this case is that the root problem had more to do with election officials – either stubbornly ignorant or flat out corrupt –“

    Okay, Election Chief Senning said: “You can’t get the vote back, but you can at least potentially go and prosecute the person for voting on another person’s ballot.” So, how many Vermonters have been charged with voter fraud?

    It appears Secretary of State Condos, Vermont Director of Elections, Will Senning, Vermont’s Town Clerks, and the Boards of Civil Authority who count the votes, are either stubbornly ignorant or flat out corrupt too.

    Such is the nature of a Direct Democracy. We elected these fools. And we will suffer the consequences of our poor discretion.

  4. Stopping voter fraud is simple. Require a voter ID to obtain a ballot or to show at the voting station. You need to show a valid ID to obtain many things such as cigarettes, liquor etc, why not for voting,. The only ones that seem to be against it are the liberals. Why is that???

    • I totally agree. If they can register to vote at the DMV where they issue out driver licenses, they can require a pictured ID be used at the polling place

  5. Exactly right Raoul. People should vote in person with an ID or request THEMSELVES that they would like an absentee ballot. They have plenty of time to fill that out and send it in. No fraud any more!!

  6. Stop unsolicited mail ballots, require voter ID and clean up our voter lists in VT. Stop any fraud from happening in VT.

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