Gerald Malloy made the customary Election Eve rounds of all 14 Vermont counties today. The antepenultimate stop was in Rutland, where his visit sparked a touching memory of an early encounter that fortified him for the long road ahead.
“Dolores Luebke,” hmmm….
Would that be the Dolores Luebke who’s served as chair of the Pawlet Republican Committee? The Dolores Luebke who’s a Second Amendment absolutist? The Dolores Luebke who has repeatedly made baseless accusations of election fraud against former state representative Robin Chesnut-Tangerman, who’s now running to retake his old seat?
Yeah, if that’s the kind of “substance” Malloy possesses, allow me to fervently hope he loses by a truly embarrassing margin.
This isn’t going to matter in the end, because the House Government Operations Committee is going to approve some version of S.15, a bill to improve voter access and the electoral process. But one of the three Republicans on the committee is making a fool of herself by injecting the kind of conspiracy thinking that’s normally absent from legislative debate or mainstream Vermont politics.
All three Republicans are trying to throw cold water on the idea of mail-in ballots, drop boxes and other provisions that drove voter turnout to historic levels last year. Absurd hypotheticals were bustin’ out all over. But first-term Rep. Samantha Lefebvre (R-QAnon) is lapping the field in persistent nuttiness.
(By the way, we’ve got Lefebvre this year instead of defeated Democrat Carl Demrow, which is about as bad a tradeoff as Art Peterson for Dave Potter. 2020 was a sneaky bad year for House Democrats.)
On at least two separate occasions, Lefebvre floated a serious accusation that somebody heard on a call-in radio program without being able to offer any specifics.
So, the details. Apparently, somebody called in to WVMT’s “The Morning Drive with Marcus and Kurt” and said that a Middlebury landlord had seen Middlebury College students collecting and filling out unclaimed absentee ballots. I’m going to reproduce her question in full below, because it’s a real beaut.
The guest on the show was Secretary of State Jim Condos. He urged the caller to file a report so it could be investigated.
This didn’t stop Lefebvre from flogging this third-hand anonymous accusation of something that allegedly happened six months ago as proof that mail-in ballots are an open invitation to vote fraud.
And, of course, neither the caller nor the landlord nor anyone else on God’s green earth ever filed a report with Condos’ office. Hey, it’s easier to push a conspiracy theory if you don’t have to provide actual evidence.
Lenore Broughton is a generous supporter of conservative politicians. But she’s an intensely private person. She hates having her picture taken, and she usually lets her money do the talking in the political arena.
On Friday afternoon, she stepped out of the shadows for the first time — ironically, to do something that’s pretty damn shady.
She sent a letter to all the town clerks in Vermont warning that the state’s election might be hacked. Or, as she put it, she was warning of “the surprisingly (sic) ease with which the AccuVote-OS optical scanners can be hacked resulting in the switching of votes.”
Her alarm springs from an article posted by Vermont’s most biased news source, Vermont Watchdog. The story was written in mid-September, and was immediately and thoroughly debunked by Secretary of State Jim Condos.
Perhaps Broughton doubts the representations of our Democratic, but scrupulously fair, Secretary of State. After all, Secretaries of State affiliated with her favorite party are often guilty of electoral shenanigans. The VTGOP has frequently made accusations against Condos or his functionaries, but none have ever panned out.
Ah, the Department of Motor Vehicles: everybody’s stereotype of a complacent, hidebound bureaucracy, where the lines are long and the staff’s hostility is held in check by its somnolence.
The image is unfair to the reality. The DMV has made strides to enter, if not the 21st Century, at least the late 20th. But now it faces new challenges not of its own making, and there needs to be a shakeup in its future.
Among those challenges: responsibility for voter registration which it seems to be fumbling, and an attitude toward the new driver’s privilege cards that seems to have awakened the inner Barney Fife in some DMV employees.