Victory Board of Civil Authority says second-home owners can vote in Vermont

By Rob Roper

According to a report from the Caledonian Record, the Victory Board of Civil Authority reviewed its voter checklist and removed five people. But not the family of second-home owners from Connecticut who form the basis for the court challenge.

RELATED: Connecticut family admits voting in Vermont, says Condos’ office gave OK

Again, according to the Record, “The family sent an email signed by Robert, Toni and Brendan Flanigan, which stated, ‘I believe that my husband and I and my son Brendan should be allowed to stay on a voter checklist in the Town of Victory. My father Antonio Sepra owned the house located at 2870 Victory Hill Road in Victory, Vermont. He purchased it in 1990. … We all have an intention to move there when we retire.’”

Rob Roper is the president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

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.

Here is the Vermont statute that defines who is a Vermont resident for purposes of voting: “a person who is domiciled in the town as evidenced by an intent to maintain a principal dwelling place in the town indefinitely and to return there if temporarily absent, coupled with an act or acts consistent with that intent.” 17 V.S.A. § 2122(b).

Are we going to have to argue over the definition of the word “is” again? Clearly, the meaning of this statute is that a person must first establish a permanent, primary residence (and be able to prove that with evidence) in the town in which they wish to vote, and then intend to maintain that as their primary residence, by returning when “temporarily absent, coupled with an act or acts consistent with that intent.”

The Flanigans are not domiciled in the town of Victory. They do not have a principal dwelling place there. They should not be allowed to vote there. Period.

However, the way the Victory BCA and Secretary of State Jim Condos (D) are interpreting this very clear law is that all one needs be allowed to vote in our state and local elections is to say one has an intent to move to Vermont at any point in the future. This is an indefensible misinterpretation of the law, not to mention stupid policy.

Hopefully, a judge will rule to remove the Flanigans from the Victory voter list and create a precedent that will force Secretary Condos and other election officials to uphold the law as it is plainly written. Even so, it is alarming that election officials at both the local and the highest levels are ignoring the clear intent of Vermont law to enable what is undeniably voter fraud.

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

13 thoughts on “Victory Board of Civil Authority says second-home owners can vote in Vermont

  1. Rob,
    Keep up the wonderful commentary. There certainly appears to be a quantum difference between individual liberties/self-interest and abuse of the rule of law. Interesting how ‘white privilege’ redefines itself in this article. No wonder we worship solar panels ….

  2. I think I need to check Vermont Statute on how a resident is defined as related to my property tax bill. Maybe there’s a loop-hole there so I can be paying at the resident rate instead of the higher, non-resident rate. 🙂

  3. I lived in Vermont from the time I was born until, at age 42, I moved to Connecticut. I still own a house in VT. My original intent was to move back to Vermont some day, probably at retirement. (That plan may have changed.) Could I have still been voting in Vermont since I moved out in 2001?

    • Gotcha ! Is the proof of residency merely that you pay a tax bill and an electric bill? Any flatlander ( yes I was one) with a second home is then by default a VT resident. The proof for many states is that to declare a primary residence (like FL) you must spend at least 182 days there in a calendar year. In what is becoming a cashless economy, this should be easy to prove. Subpeona the bank and credit card records of the party in dispute and see where and when they whipped out the plastic in VT. Problem solved.

    • At one point I paid property taxes in three states – should I get to vote three times? If that’s the case, I’ll buy a half acre in 10 states.

      • Matt, you could make a case that people who pay property taxes should be allowed to vote on municipal budgets. I do think that might be fair. However, I don’t think people who are not residents in a community should be able to choose local representation. Right now, there is one voter list and one ballot. The ballot you receive to vote on the school budget is the same one you use to vote for state rep, state senate, governor, federal offices, etc. Are you suggesting that people who own multiple properties should be allowed to vote multiple times for these offices?

        JRZTRTL — You’re not quite right on the residency requirement. If you spent 182 days in a state you ARE a resident of that state and the state has a legal right to tax you accordingly. However, you do not need to spend 182 days in a state to be a resident. If, for example, someone has three properties in three states and spends four months in each, that person can pick which one is their state of residence. Folks VT second home owners who claim Florida residency for tax purposes, for example, need to document that they do not spend 182 days in VT. Otherwise, VT could come after them.

        • “However, I don’t think people who are not residents in a community should be able to choose local representation.” I guess that all depends on how you define “resident” or “domiciled”. Right?

          “The ballot you receive to vote on the school budget is the same one you use to vote for state rep, state senate, governor, federal offices, etc. Are you suggesting that people who own multiple properties should be allowed to vote multiple times for these offices?”

          I’m not following your question….Are you asking if people that own multiple properties in VT should be able to vote more than once for state offices? Or should second home owners be able to vote for state offices? IF it is the former then no, I don’t believe people should be able to vote more than once for state offices. If it is the latter, I don’t see how a resident of CT voting for state offices in VT and for state offices in CT would be much of an issue in terms of double voting. The situation you are referring to in your commentary relates to the latter and not the former correct?

      • “At one point I paid property taxes in three states – should I get to vote three times?”

        That would totally depend on how those states define “residency” for voting purposes and if you are wanting to merely vote for local or state offices or federal.

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