Op/Ed

Editorial: Jim Condos leaves lasting legacy

ANGELO LYNN

Vermont Sec. of State Jim Condos, who announced Tuesday he would be retiring and not running for re-election this November, leaves his office in a far better position than when he took over 12 years ago. In those dozen years, he has transitioned the office from a largely paper-based system to more accurate and efficient digital ones, he said, and has ensured “accessible, free, fair, election processes,” while also making it easy to register and vote, including through universal mail-in balloting.

In a written statement, Paul Burns, executive director of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group, praised Condos for his work. “Jim Condos leaves a legacy of pro-democracy reform,” Burns said. “He’s helped make Vermont one of the most voter-friendly states in the nation.”

In these partisan times, Vermonters can be proud that their top election officials kept their eye on the right prize — getting as many Vermonters engaged in voting as possible, while also keeping the voting system secure. To that end, Condos enacted or enhanced: same day registration; automatic voter registration; online voter registration; ADA accessible voting; enhanced cyber security; universal vote-by-mail; ballot drop boxes; and ballot curing.

Many of those actions — all which enable more Vermonters to participate in elections — have been under attack by the Republican Party as contributing to voter fraud, but Condos sets the record straight and points out the real danger.

Condos said democracy in the country was “in dire straits” not because of voter fraud, but because of the spread of misinformation over social media hyping such fraud, even though it is extremely rare. Condos said the number of voter fraud cases throughout the country was “miniscule,” noting there was just one case of voter fraud in Vermont in the 2020 election out of 375,000 votes cast.

Throughout his tenure, Condos was also a strong supporter of making public records and information transparent and open to public view, and he worked hard with the state’s media to let the light shine where needed. At 71, and with 35 years in public office (also serving as state senator to Chittenden County and as a city councilor for South Burlington), Condos will step down next January leaving behind a strong and memorable legacy for which all Vermonters will benefit.

Angelo Lynn

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