Vt. officials point to election track record

MIDDLEBURY — The Vermont Secretary of State’s Office is working with town clerks to make sure the 2022 General Elections in the Green Mountain State run smoothly and beyond reproach from anyone who might make claims of voter fraud. 

“Our elections are secure, our process has integrity, and the track record is clear,” Eric Covey, Secretary of State Jim Condos’s chief of staff, said through an email exchange with the Independent. “We are very confident in the integrity of Vermont’s election process; the security, integrity, accuracy and accessibility of Vermont elections is our top priority.”

Covey noted towns with 1,000 or more voters must use an electronic tabulator (17 V.S.A. § 2491). Towns with fewer than 1,000 voters — of which there are around 100 (at least nine in Addison County) — may elect to instead use hand counts.

As for electronic tabulators, Covey said Vermont’s election protocols call for:

• Machines that don’t have any wired or wireless connectivity.

“They are stand-alone units that do not communicate with each other and cannot be remotely accessed,” he said.

 • A “strict chain of custody on all election equipment, preventing any unauthorized individual from having physical access to the tabulators or memory cards.”

• A “voter-marked paper ballot” for every vote cast, which must be retained by the town clerks for 22 months following every General Election.

“We have been conducting post-election audits since 2006,” Covey said. “In that time, we have never found any abnormalities between the official election results (which are carefully certified at a local, county and state level by a member of each major party) and the audit result.”

Moreover, Covey said Vermont has established itself as a “national leader” in both election security and election administration.

“We were ranked #1 in the nation for both the 2020 and 2016 election by MIT’s Election Performance Index, widely considered one of the most reputable, data-driven measures of state election performance,” he said.

As of last week, the Vermont Secretary of State’s Office had received zero requests from individuals or groups seeking to monitor polling places on Nov. 8 — either inside or outside the voting venues.

Covey added he hasn’t been informed of any pre-election efforts by anyone seeking to intimidate town clerks into changing their protocols for voting day. There have also been no formal requests at this point to replace tabulator use with hand counting, “though we do informally hear that idea touted by skeptics,” Covey said.

And he had this message for those who would prefer to remove electronic technology from elections: “Hand counting has been scientifically shown to be less accurate than tabulation.”

Covey voiced frustration about erroneous election fraud claims.

“For over six years, partisans have made baseless claims of widespread voter fraud and have yet to provide any evidence of its existence,” he said. “We have transparently shown time and time again the security and integrity of our elections and their results. Unless those spinning wild voter-fraud conspiracies can produce actual evidence, it’s time for the cry-wolf tactics to stop.”

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