Oh, here comes David Sunderland, woebegone chair of the Vermont Republican Party, with his biennial tradition: the totally cooked-up accusation that the Secretary of State has his finger on the electoral scale.
I suppose it’s only natural. After all, Republican Secretaries of State have a long and sordid tradition of playing partisan games. (See: Kris Kobach, Ken Blackwell, and Katherine Harris) But our guy, Jim Condos, may be a solid Democrat, but he’s never given any hint of impropriety in the handling of his official duties.
Still,;like Wile E. Coyote chasing the roadrunner, Sunderland can’t stop himself from trying. Remember two years ago, when he accused an Elections Office employee of partisan bias — without a single shred of evidence that the worker had acted improperly? Sunderland didn’t give a damn about imperiling a man’s career and good name, if he could score a few partisan points in so doing.
This time, Sunderland is raising a stink about the distribution of ballots for the November elections. He notes that different communities are getting ballots at different times. Some have already started mailing ballots to voters who want to vote early.
He raises an “equal protection issue” with some voters getting their ballots earlier than others, and thus having more time to ponder their choices.
Uh-huh. Like those voters are going to spend from now until Election Eve intensively studying their choices — and people who dot n’t their ballots until sometime next week will never be able to catch up.
But that’s not all.
Sunderland raises the question — completely unsupported by evidence — that Condos is giving Democratic voters an edge:
It appears that a disproportionate number of towns with large percentages of Democrat voters voting absentee (e.g. the City of Burlington and City of Montpelier) were among the first to receive their ballots. In turn, they were the first to mail them to voters and have provided their voters with a longer period of time to vote….
We want to be sure that this is a coincidence, and not an inappropriate manipulation of Vermont’s election processes.
Yeah, that’s what you want. And I’m the King of Siam.
If Sunderland merely wanted reassurance, he wouldn’t have released his letter to the media before Condos had a chance to reply.
And that reply?
…the allegations and innuendo in your letter… are baseless, uninformed, and frankly, offensive. The fact that you choose to debate this via the media without once asking me or my office about the process shows the partisanship and division you are trying to create.
Condos then explains that his agency has no say in which ballots are printed and distributed in which order — it’s simply a matter of when they come back from the printer. And by state law, once clerks receive ballots, they are legally bound to immediately make them available to voters.
Mr. Secretary didn’t actually use the word “bullshit,” but he came very close. Methinks he’s getting tired of Sunderland’s political games.
My office takes every possible step to remain impartial in our administration of the election and to suggest otherwise is a very serious allegation that should be supported with facts before being floated to the media and the public in the guise of a legitimate “concern” about voting rights.
… As I have offered to you on multiple occasions, I would be happy to answer your questions and discuss the law and facts directly, rather than through the media. My invitation still stands for you to come to the office and meet our elections team, observe them at work, and better understand how we administer elections in Vermont.
Somehow I doubt that Sunderland will ever accept Condos’ invitation. If he did so, he’d have to admit that there is nothing political about the operation of the Vermont Elections Division. And he’d have to stop inventing phony “concerns” in a desperate attempt to undercut the legitimacy of our electoral process.
Tell you what, Dave. Why don’t you stop with the fruitless attempts to defame a group of dedicated public servants, and work on something that would really help your party — raise some damn money so you can actually be competitive with the Democrats? Your “leadership” has been marked by persistently inadequate fundraising and woefully depleted warchests.
Seriously,stop chasing the roadrunner. You’re only making yourself look foolish.