September 30, 2012

Smith was a valid write-in vote - State statute clear

Letter to Editor, Burlington Free Press, Sept. 23, 2012 

It is strange, very strange, that an empty oval would suddenly gain the status of a hanging chad.
A hanging chad, we all remember from the election debacle of 2000, became a culprit in the disenfranchisement of hundreds of Florida voters. Chads were left hanging, and voters’ votes were left hanging. Uncounted. The course of American history hung along with them.
Some Vermont town clerks appear to have been flummoxed by the specter of the empty oval. There the empty oval remained, on Aug. 28, next to an unknown number of write-in votes for Annette Smith.
And, it appears, our Secretary of State’s Office, which is responsible for training our hard-working town clerks, did not provide the following, which I offer here for future and potential write-in candidates:
Vermont Statute §2586: Rules for Counting Ballots (e) In the case of “write-in” votes, the act of writing in the name of a candidate, or pasting a label containing a candidate’s name upon the ballot, without other indications of the voter’s intent, shall constitute a vote for that candidate, even though no cross is placed after such name. The election officials counting ballots and tallying results must list every person who receives a “write-in” vote and the number of votes received. On each tally sheet, the counters shall add together the names of candidates that are clearly the same person, even though a nickname or last name is used. Names of fictitious persons shall not be listed.