This week’s certification of the state election results brought a popular headline: Bernie Sanders drew more than 18,000 write-in votes for president.
On the one hand, impressive. On the other, that and a buck-fifty will buy you a cup of coffee. It provided some warm fee-fees to Bernie loyalists, and in Vermont it was a no-risk move since there was no way Hillary Clinton was going to lose Vermont. (As for those who voted for Bernie or Jill Stein or Vermin Supreme in the states that were close, well, thanks for helping elect President Trump.)
But there is one significant implication of Bernie’s write-in total, and it has to do with the gubernatorial candidacy of Sue Minter.
In the immediate aftermath of the election, I theorized that the long, expensive campaign had had little impact — that Phil Scott entered as the favorite and exited the same.
Secretary of State Jim Condos is making a welcome, and timely, push for an independent State Ethics Commission. In a press release issued this morning, he also called for “a clear law regarding ethics, conflicts of interest, and financial disclosure for our elected officials.”
This really shouldn’t be an issue; we are one of only three states without such a body. And in a year that’s already seen Attorney General Bill Sorrell facing an independent investigation, a sitting Senator arrested on felony charges on the Statehouse grounds, significant questions about the Senate President Pro Tem, and a secretive House Ethics Panel with a very permissive interpretation of “ethics,” you’d think we could dispense with the old “We’re Vermonters, we do the right thing, we don’t need an ethics law” argument.
I mean, if anybody still believes that, they’re whistling past the graveyard.