Published in News and Citizen 11-18-14

Election Results

    Are you aware that the “official” election results will not be finalized, signed, sealed and released, until sometime this week, perhaps as you read this? It is very remote that anything will change from what you have heard already, but personally I learned a lot more about the process due to questions I had late last Friday afternoon. That was the Friday after the Tuesday election.
My reporter, Andrew, called the Vt. Secretary of State’s office for the latest update on election numbers sometime between 3 and 4 o’clock Friday. The state website, that lists the “unofficial” tallies, unbeknownst to me, quit taking numbers sometime about noon on Wednesday. So no really new update was available. However, we at the paper did not know that.
Here is what happens, and in some parts happened only this year for the first time. I should preface this whole article by saying this year’s result reached the state and were made public more quickly than ever before, by direct statement of Secretary of State Jim Condos.
Town clerks were asked to make unofficial tallies of votes available to the state by inputting them into the website by the end of Tuesday (Election) night. In several cases this year the website lost those numbers. On Wednesday, town clerks statewide are asked to double check and load their tallies and ballots in an expense paid envelope and send them by overnight mail to the Secretary of State. Of course, the envelopes receipt in Montpelier varies. But the office begins its counting as soon as the first envelope is received and that counting/checking continues until finished.
Here’s where the N & C comes in. We wanted the latest tally as of late Friday for Monday’s paper. We were told 10 towns had not yet reported. As best I can tell after talking with Zoe, the secretary at the Secretary’s office, and with Secretary of State Condos is that that meant they had not yet finished checking 10 towns or districts. For whatever the reason, I could not get the names of those specific towns or districts. I wanted them in order to see if, combined, they had available enough votes to change the Governor’s race. As long as I could have known they had been received or were in mail transit, I could more or less assume they couldn’t be tampered with.
Of course, in the normal course of events without such a tight governor’s race, I wouldn’t have cared. But it would seem we need a really tight system and maybe a faster system in this world where we have news from across the world in seconds.
Now Secretary Condos convinced me that all was fair, legal, straight and above board with the vote tally, and even earlier than usual. However it seems as though the system has a rather large time frame which, in my opinion only, the more time involved, the more potential for election fraud. Call me suspicious, but that’s the way things look to me.