in the State Senate on June 2, 2020 by a vote of
Purpose: S.348 would remove the Governor’s right to approve emergency elections changes in consultation with the Secretary of State for the 2020 election made necessary by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Analysis: The proposal in question would involve mailing as many as 500,000 “live” absentee ballots to every registered, currently uncontested voter in the state of Vermont regardless of the voter requesting a ballot. Governor Phil Scott (R) has reservations about the plan while Secretary of State Jim Condos (D) insists that it is both necessary and needs to be implemented immediately.
Those voting YES believe that in order to move forward with mailing all voters a ballot the check and balance currently required by law between the Governor and the Secretary of State must be removed. They argue that mailing all voters a ballot is the best way to maintain the ability of voters to participate in the election while protecting their health (discouraging congregating in large groups at polling places) as well as the health of election officials given the potential threat of COVID-19.
Those voting NO believe that the check and balance between the Governor and the Secretary of State should be maintained; that the proposal to mail 500,000 ballots is fraught with problems, including voter confusion, logistical problems with the postal service regarding the tracking and return of ballots sent to wrong addresses, logistical problems stemming from mailing thousands ineligible “voters” (people who have died or moved) who are still on the checklist; and the possibility of voter fraud on both large and small scales, such as “ballot harvesting” as the result of having as many as 200,000 unwanted/unclaimed live ballots “floating around” the state.
Senate Journal, Tuesday, June 2, 2020. “…Thereupon, the bill was read the second time by title only pursuant to Rule 43, and third reading of the bill was ordered on a roll call, Yeas 21, Nays 7. (Read the Journal, p. 649-650)”
How They Voted
(Click on Your Senator’s Name to Send an Email)
Timothy Ashe (D/P-Chittenden) – YES
Becca Balint (D-Windham) – YES
Philip Baruth (D-Chittenden) – YES
Joseph Benning (R-Caledonia) – NO
Christopher Bray (D-Addison) – YES
Randy Brock (R-Franklin) – NO
Brian Campion (D-Bennington) – YES
Alison Clarkson (D-Windsor) – YES
Brian Collamore (R-Rutland) – NO
Ann Cummings (D-Washington) – YES
Ruth Hardy (D-Addison) – YES
Cheryl Hooker (D-Rutland) – YES
Debbie Ingram (D-Chittenden) -YES
M. Jane Kitchel (D-Caledonia) – YES
Virginia Lyons (D-Chittenden) – YES
Mark MacDonald (D-Orange) – YES
Richard Mazza (D-Chittenden-Grand Isle) – YES
Richard McCormack (D-Windsor) – YES
James McNeil (R-Rutland) – NO
Alice Nitka (D-Windsor District) – YES
Corey Parent (R-Franklin) – NO
Chris Pearson (P-Chittenden) – YES
Andrew Perchlik (D-Washington) – YES
Anthony Pollina (P/D/W-Washington) – YES
John Rodgers (D-Essex-Orleans) – ABSENT
Richard Sears (D-Bennington) – ABSENT
Michael Sirotkin (D-Chittenden) – YES
Robert Starr (D-Essex-Orleans) – NO
Richard Westman (R-Lamoille) – NO
Jeanette White (D-Windham) – YES
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