It has been one year since a Vermont Superior Court ruling removed 13 percent of Victory’s voters from the town’s voter checklist, yet it appears the ruling has had little impact on other towns that could be facing similar issues.
Secretary Condos is either intentionally or unintentionally perpetuating the incorrect understanding that intent to move into a district (or back into a district after having established a primary domicile outside the district) is enough to allow someone onto the voter checklist. It’s not.
While I agree that non-residents voting in Vermont elections would dilute the votes of Vermonters, I could not disagree more with Ms. Bucknam’s premise that my office provided guidance to allow or encourage this activity.
A member of the Board of Civil Authority for the town of Victory says the Secretary of State’s office has not taken responsibility for the town’s election woes, even after a Vermont Superior Court judge ruled that the voter checklist contained unqualified voters and non-residents who voted in recent elections.
The secretary of state’s website provides that individuals with a subjective intent to move to a town are eligible to vote. The website states, “The law creates a subjective standard.” That is not what the law provides.
The point at issue here is that the BCA contended that these second-home owners were eligible to vote because they had an “intent” to establish a primary domicile in the district at some point in the future, owned property, and that was enough to give them status to vote. The BCA believed this despite the law.
A ruling by a Vermont Superior Court judge has led to the removal of 13 percent of a small Northeast Kingdom town’s electorate from the voter checklist, a win for plaintiffs who argued that part-time residents are not allowed to vote in Vermont elections.
How many other out-of-state part-time property owners, how many town clerks, how many Boards of Civil Authority have received this misguided, illegal advice from our secretary of state?
Here they have admitted that they don’t live in Vermont — they won’t live in Vermont until they retire. They are second-home owners, but the BCA in Victory has apparently deemed that enough to remain on the voter rolls. This is crazy.
Mr. Roper asserts our “wildly loose” interpretation of the residency requirement “does not reflect the spirit or the language of the statute.” I could not disagree more.
They were voting by absentee ballot in Vermont, deciding who would represent in public offices people who actually live here. That’s vote fraud, right? Wrong! At least according to our Secretary of State’s office.