MONTPELIER, Vt. (WFFF) — This week, Vermont’s top election official defended the Green Mountain State and its voting process.
Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh inaccurately cited Vermont as an example of a state that “didn’t change its ordinary election rules.” Kavanaugh wrote this in an opinion following a 5-to-3 ruling, in which the Supreme Court decided against extending the election-day deadline in Wisconsin.
Feeling strongly about the decision, Kavanaugh wrote a concurrence or opinion, expressing his agreeance with the majority decision. But Secretary of State Jim Condos sent a letter to the Supreme Court Wednesday requesting that Kavanaugh change his statement.
“His correction just basically added the word ‘deadline,’” said Condos. “Now it reads that we, ‘didn’t change our deadline,’ but he misses the rest of it,” said Condos. Meaning, the changes Vermont did enact to allow for voters to get their ballots in the mail.
“We provided a ballot to every active registered voter more than 30 days ahead of time, we’ve provided a postage paid envelop that they could return their ballots with, and that we allowed the town clerks up to 30 days ahead of time,” said Condos.
This was the first time Vermont allowed the state to count ballots one month prior to the election so that the state didn’t have to extend its November 3 deadline.
“This was a concurring opinion, really the expression of one justice’s opinion. But at the same time, these opinions have an effect,” said Montpelier-based attorney Daniel Richardson.
Richardson says Kavanaugh’s revision is technically correct but is, by no means, a controlling opinion: “It is on its surface true, but substantively wrong, because we’ve done a lot to change to keep that deadline in place on the back end that other states haven’t done, like Wisconsin.”
When it comes to presidential elections, he says states can choose how to conduct the voting. “When we’re talking about a national election, like the presidency, we’re really talking about 50 state elections because each state manages its own election process and each state is entitled to make the rules that govern that election process.”
While Kavanaugh made the correction, Secretary Condos said he doesn’t think the one-word addition goes far enough to accurately explain all that Vermont is doing to ensure a safe and secure election.
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