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YCQM: July 26, 2020

Published: Jul. 26, 2020 at 5:51 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 27, 2020 at 10:48 AM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - GOOD MORNING, I’M CAT VIGLIENZONI IN FOR DARREN.THIS MORNING ON “YOU CAN QUOTE ME” WE’RE DIVING DEEPER INTO THE KEY ISSUES.WE’RE STARTING WITH BIG NEWS FROM THE WEEK, VERMONT INSTITUTING A MASK MANDATE, WE’LL HEAR GOVERNOR SCOTT’S PLEA TO VERMONTERS.AND WE’RE BRINGING IN THE EXPERTS ON TESTING. UNIVERSITY OF STAFF JOIN US TO BREAK DOWN THE DIFFERENCES IN THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF COVID TESTING. PLUS WE’LL BE JOINED BY VERMONT’S SECRETARY OF STATE ANSWERING YOUR QUESTIONS ABOUT MAIL-IN VOTING.THIS WEEK VERMONT’S MASK MANDATE TAKES EFFECT., EFFECTIVE ON AUGUST 1, IT REQUIRES PEOPLE TO WEAR A MASK WHEN INDOORS OR OUTDOORS AND CAN’T KEEP SEPARATE FROM OTHERS.THERE ARE EXCEPTIONS FOR PEOPLE WITH MEDICAL CONDITIONS AND CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF 2.THE GOVERNOR ACKNOWLEDGED IT WILL BE DIFFICULT TO ENFORCE.THERE ARE NO FINES ATTACHED YET TO THIS MEASURE, THOUGH BUSINESSES CAN REFUSE SERVICE TO PEOPLE WHO AREN’T WEARING MASKS.AND WHILE THE GOVERNOR SAID HE STILL BELIEVES EDUCATION IS THE RIGHT APPROACH, HE AND THE STATE’S HEALTH COMMISSIONER SAID RISING CASES AROUND THE COUNTRY AND THE NORTHEAST MEN THIS WAS TIME TO ACT.>> UNFORTUNATELY, THIS ISSUE HAS BECOME POLARIZED, AND I’M STILL WORRIED THAT A MANDATE WILL CREATE CONFLICT AND RESISTANCE. SO I WANT TO TAKE A MOMENT TO TALK TO FOLKS ON BOTH SIDES OF THIS ISSUE.FIRST I WANT TO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THERE ARE SOME WHO CAN’T WEAR A MASK, FROM ASTHMA TO CLAUSTROPHOBIA, AND THERE ARE TIMES A MASK ISN’T NECESSARY, SO LET’S GIVE EACH OTHER THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT.FOR THOSE VERMONTERS WHO DON’T FALL INTO THIS CATEGORY BUT HAVE RESISTED WEARING A MASK, I’M ASKING YOU TO LOOK AT THE DATA, THE REAL DATA, NOT JUST SOMETHING YOU SEE ON FACEBOOK AND REALIZE THAT THE SCIENCE IS REAL.AND THAT WEARING A MASK WILL NOT ONLY PROTECT THE GAINS WE’VE MADE BUT ALSO HELP YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS AND FRIENDS STAY HEALTHY.EVEN THE PRESIDENT, WHO HAS BEEN A SKEPTIC, IS NOW CONVINCED MASKS WILL HELP GET US THROUGH THIS. IN FACT, THE C.D.C. HAS SAID THE SURGE IN THE SUN BELT, PLACES THAT PREVIOUSLY RESISTED MASKS, COULD BE CONTROLLED IN FOUR TO SIX WEEKS, IF DISCIPLINED ENOUGH TO WEAR MASKS. SO IF WE WANT OUR KIDS TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL, IF WE WANT THE PLACE WE WORK OR EAT OR SHOP TO STAY OPEN, IF WE WANT OUR HEALTH CARE SYSTEM AND THE HOSPITAL BEDS AVAILABLE WHEN WE NEED HELP, THEN WEARING A MASK OR PHYSICALLY SEPARATING IS THE BEST WAY TO DO THAT. SO, PLEASE, HELP US OUT.NOT BECAUSE IT’S MANDATED, BUT BECAUSE IT’S THE RIGHT THING TO DO FOR OUR SENIORS, OUR KIDS, FOR OUR OWN HEALTH, AND FOR OUR ECONOMY.I’M ASKING YOU TO TAKE PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY, BECAUSE WE MUST CONTINUE TO FIGHT THESE BATTLES IN ORDER TO WIN THIS WAR, AND EACH OF US HAS A ROLE TO PLAY IN OUR SUCCESS. TO THOSE OF YOU ALREADY WEARING MASKS, THEY’RE CONCERNED ABOUT THOSE WHO AREN’T, I ASK YOU TO GIVE THEM THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT, BECAUSE ATTACKING, SHAMING AND JUDGING ISN’T GOING TO HELP.BUT UNDERSTANDING, EVENING INDICATING, MEETING PEOPLE WHERE THEY ARE, AND MAYBE USING A LITTLE KINDNESS AND UNDERSTANDING, MIGHT.LET’S NOT MAKE THE NEWS WITH SCREAMING MATCHES CAUGHT ON VIDEO.LET’S DO THINGS THE VERMONT WAY BY BEING ROLE MODELS AND LEADING BY EXAMPLE.BECAUSE, AGAIN, THE SMARTER WE ARE AND THE MORE GOOD CHOICES WE EACH MAKE AND THE MORE PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY THAT EACH OF US TAKES, THE BETTER OFF WE’LL BE, AND THE EASIER IT WILL BE TO DEFEAT THIS VIRUS.>> THE DECISION ON MANDATORY MASKING WAS NOT TAKEN LIGHTLY AND WE KNOW IT WILL NOT BE WELCOMED BY EVERYONE.BUT IN THE END GOVERNMENT DOES TAKE RESPONSIBILITY AND REASONABLE ACTIONS TO PROTECT THE HEALTH AND SAFETY OF ALL THOSE WHO LIVE IN OUR WONDERFUL LITTLE STATE.PUBLIC HEALTH TAKES RESPONSIBILITY FOR MAKING RECOMMENDATIONS THAT HELP GOVERNMENT MAKE DECISIONS THAT ARE DATA DRIVEN AND SCIENCE BASED.AND IN THAT VEIN WE TRULY DO BELIEVE THAT A MASK MANDATE IS REASONABLE, ESPECIALLY GIVING THE REDSTONES --RED ZONES THAT ARE EX-EXPANDING DAILY.WE KNOW THAT MASK WEARING CAN SUBSTANTIALLY SLOW THE SPREAD OF VIRUS, BUT ONLY IF A SUBSTANTIAL MAJORITY OF THE POPULATION WHO IS ABLE TO DOES SO.MASK WEARING IN COMBINATION WITH OTHER SIMPLE ACTIONS WILL PREVENT DISEASE AND SAVE LIVES.>> THERE ARE A LOT OF DIFFERENT TYPES OF TESTS BEING TALKED ABOUT FOR COVID-19, NEXT WE’LL BREAK DOWN WHICH ONCE ARE OUT THERE AND WHAT MAKES THEM DIFFERENT AND WILL TAKE YOU THROUGH THE TESTING PROCESS.>> P.C.R. TESTS, AN IS THE GENERAL TESTS, ANTIBODY TESTS.WITH ALL THE WAYS OF LOOKING AT WHETHER SOMEONE HAS BEEN EXPOSED TO COVID-19, IT CAN BE HARD TO KEEP THEM STRAIGHT.I SPOKE WITH DR. EYAL AMIEL, AN IMMUNOLOGY RESEARCHER AND ALSO WITH DR. CHRISTI WOJEWODA AT THE UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT MEDICAL CENTER TO BREAK DOWN THE TESTING DIFFERENCES.WE’RE GOING TO CLARIFY SOME OF THE CONFUSION, WE’VE HEARD ABOUT P.C.R., ANTIGEN, ANTIBODY TESTING.CAN YOU EXPLAIN WHAT THE DIFFERENCES ARE?>> SURE.THE P.C.R. TEST IS DETECTING GENETIC MATERIAL OF THE VIRUS IN A PATIENT’S SAMPLE SWAB, USUALLY FROM THE NASAL REGION.THE ANTIGEN TEST DETECTS PROTEINS FROM THE VIRUS. SO PARTS OF THE VIRUS, AGAIN, IN THOSE SAME TYPES OF SWABS.THE ANTIGEN TEST ISN’T QUITE AS SENSITIVE, MEANING IT CAN’T PICK UP A LOWER NUMBER OF VIRUSES, LIKE A P.C.R. TEST CAN.THEN THE ANTIBODY TEST DETECTS, OR SEROLOGY DETECTS ANTIBODIES IN THE PATIENT’S BLOOD STREAM, SHOWING THAT THE PATIENT HAS BEEN EXPOSED TO THE VIRUS.>> ARE ANY OF THESE TESTING METHODS BRAND NEW OR HAVE THEY BEEN AROUND FOR A WHILE?>> THE METHODS THEMSELVES HAVE BEEN AROUND FOR A WHILE, THEY’VE BEEN ADAPTED TO THIS NEW VIRUS.BUT NOTHING IS NEW ABOUT THESE DIFFERENT TECHNIQUES.>> SO WHAT HAPPENS ONCE A TEST SAMPLE IS COLLECTED, WALK US THROUGH THE PROCESS, IT COMES OCCUPANT OF YOUR NOSE, WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THAT?>> SURE. SO THE VIRUS, I’M SORRY THE SWAB GETS COLLECTED AND THEN IT HAS TO GET TRANSPORTED TO A LABORATORY.SOMETIMES THAT’S A VERY SHORT DISTANCE, LIKE FOR INSTANCE THE FAIR GROUNDS AT ESSEX TO UVMMC, BUT SOMETIMES IT’S A LONGER DISTANCE FROM SOME PLACE ELSE AROUND THE STATE.ONCE IT GETS TO OUR LABORATORY WE PUT IT INTO THE COMPUTER SYSTEM AND THEN HAVE TO TAKE A PORTION OF THAT SAMPLE AND PUT IT INTO A TUBE TO DO THE TESTING.THAT TESTING COULD EITHER BE DONE HERE AT OUR LABORATORY OR GET SENT OFF TO WHAT WE CALL A REFERENCE LABORATORY THAT CAN TEST A LARGER NUMBER OF SAMPLES IN A DAY. SO THERE’S A LOT OF TRANSPORT TIMES BUILT INTO THE TESTING.EACH TEST FOR P.C.R., FOR EXAMPLE, CAN TAKE ANYWHERE FROM AN HOUR TO SIX HOURS. SO THE TESTING DOESN’T TAKE A LONG TIME, IT’S THE TRANSPORT AND THEN IF THERE’S A LARGE NUMBER OF SAMPLES THAT HAVE BUILT UP, GETTING THROUGH ALL THOSE SAMPLES THAT CAN TAKE A WHILE.>> YOU MENTIONED THE LARGE AMOUNT OF SAMPLES THAT HAVE BUILT UP, I MEAN THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT IS DOING 1,000P.C.R. TESTS A DAY.HAVE YOU EVER SEEN TESTING ON THIS SCALE BEFORE?>> NO. SO BOTH THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT AND HERE AT UVMMC WE’RE TESTING ANYWHERE FROM 400 TO, WE’VE HAD DAYS WHERE 1300 SAMPLES HAVE WALKED THROUGH OUR DOORS. SO THIS MAGNITUDE OF TESTING IS COMPLETELY UNPRECEDENTED FOR US.>> HOW ARE YOU HANDLING THAT?>> WITH A LOT OF PATIENCE AND A LOT OF VOLUNTEER SUPPORT FROM SECTIONS OF OUR LABORATORY THAT AREN’T MICROBIOLOGY. SO IT’S REALLY BEEN A TEAM EFFORT TO TRY TO GET ALL OF THESE SAMPLES TESTED IN A TIMELY MANNER.>> WHAT STANDS OUT TO YOU THE MOST IN THE DISCUSSIONS THAT ARE GOING ON AROUND TESTING RIGHT NOW?>> SO THE THING THAT’S REALLY BUBBLED UP TO THE TOP RIGHT NOW IS WE ARE OVERWHELMING THE SYSTEM WITH ASYMPTOMATIC TESTING.THROUGHOUT THIS WHOLE PANDEMIC WE’VE HAD A LONG DISCUSSION ABOUT THE MORE TESTING THE BETTER.AND I DO BELIEVE THAT’S TRUE LOGICALLY, IF WE WERE ABLE TO TEST EVERYBODY EVERY DAY WITH AN ACCURATE, FAST, CHEAP TEST, WE WOULD BE ABLE TO IDENTIFY ANYBODY WHO IS POSITIVE OR EARLY IN THE STAGES OF DISEASE FASTER.BUT THAT’S JUST NOT THE REALITY THAT WE’RE LIVING IN.AND SO WE’RE TESTING A WHOLE BUNCH OF PEOPLE THAT ARE CONCERNED BECAUSE THEIR DAUGHTER’S FRIEND’S MOM MIGHT HAVE BEEN POSITIVE, BUT THEY’RE NOT IN ANY ACTUAL DANGER THEMSELVES RIGHT NOW.AND ALL OF THOSE ASYMPTOMATIC TESTS ARE REALLY BOGGING DOWN THE SYSTEM, SO THAT IT’S TAKING LONGER TO GET THROUGH SOME OF THE SYMPTOMATIC PATIENTS OR REQUIRED TESTING FOR PRE-PROCEDURAL PATIENTS, SO WE REALLY NEED TO FOCUS ON TESTING THE PATIENTS THAT NEED TO GET TESTED RIGHT NOW.>> AND THAT’S A BIT OF A CHALLENGE, OF COURSE, GIVEN SOME OF THE REQUIREMENTS THAT THE STATE HAS PUT OUT THERE ABOUT IF YOU WANT TO GET OFF AFTER TRAVELING, YOU NEED TO GET A TEST AND MOST PEOPLE AREN’T SYMPTOMATIC, SO WHAT’S THE SOLUTION THERE, I GUESS, IS THERE A GOOD ONE?>> YES, SO WE’RE DOING A LOT DIFFERENT THINGS.WE’RE THINKING ABOUT BROADENING THE TYPES OR AMOUNT OF SAMPLES THAT WE CAN SEND TO REFERENCE LABORATORIES.WE’RE THINKING ABOUT ARE THERE DIFFERENT TESTING SYSTEMS THAT COULD BE PUT IN LABORATORIES ACROSS THE STATE TO NOT HAVE ALL OF THE TESTING BE CONSOLIDATED.AND THEN I THINK GETTING THE MESSAGE OUT TO PATIENTS ACROSS THE STATE THAT YOU’RE REALLY AT THE HIGHEST RISK IF YOU ARE IN CLOSE CONTACT, SO WITHIN 6 FEET, FOR GREATER THAN 15 MINUTES, WITH A KNOWN POSITIVE PATIENT, THAT’S WHEN YOU’RE AT HIGHEST RISK FOR INFECTION. SO THERE’S A LOT OF CONCERN ABOUT FRIENDS OF FRIENDS OR ACQUAINTANCES OR I HEARD OF SOMEBODY WHO WAS POSITIVE WHO WENT TO THE SAME RESTAURANT AS ME, MAYBE THE SAME DAY.THAT’S NOT A HIGH RISK EXPOSURE, AND THE HIGH RISK EXPOSURES ARE REALLY BEING TRACKED DOWN VIA CONTACT TRACING AT THE STATE HEALTH DEPARTMENT. SO MAKING SURE THAT THAT PROCESS GOES ON APPROPRIATELY AND THOSE HIGH RISK PATIENTS GET TESTED, IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN GETTING PATIENTS WHO REALLY DIDN’T HAVE A HIGH RISK EXPOSURE.>> WE’RE GOING TO SWITCH OVER TO TALKING ABOUT VACCINES NOW, THERE’S BEEN MORE HEADLINES ABOUT DEVELOPMENT OF A COVID-19 VACCINE.SOME EARLY TRIALS DO SEEM TO BE SHOWING SOME PROMISE.WHAT DO PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW AS THEY SEE THIS INFORMATION ON VACCINE TRIALS COMING IN?>> SURE. SO OF COURSE THE PURPOSE OF EVERY VACCINE IS TO TRY TO EDUCATE A VACCINATED PERSON’S IMMUNE SYSTEM AGAINST THE VIRUS THREAT IN THIS SITUATION BEFORE THEY SEE THE DISEASE OR COME INTO CONTACT WITH THE VIRUS SO THEY HAVE AN IMMUNE RESPONSE AGAINST IT, WHICH WILL MAKE THEM LESS LIKELY TO GET SICK FROM A POTENTIAL EXPOSURE.EVERY VACCINE HAS THREE MAJOR HURDLES TO CLEAR AS IT GOES THROUGH DEVELOPMENT ON ITS WAY TO APPROVAL.THE FIRST ONE IS SAFETY.ALL VACCINES ARE TESTED TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY DON’T PRODUCE UNWANTED EFFECTS OR HARM TO PATIENTS.THE SECOND MAJOR HURDLE IS THAT IT DRIVES SOME SORT OF IMMUNE RESPONSE, WHICH IS LIKELY TO BE EFFECTIVE.AND THE THIRD MAJOR HURDLE IS THAT IT IS ACTUALLY EFFECTIVE AGAINST WHATEVER YOU’RE VACCINATING AGAINST. SO AS PEOPLE THINK ABOUT THE EARLY RETURNS, BECAUSE VACCINES OFTEN TAKE YEARS TO DEVELOP, AND WE’RE TRYING TO DEVELOP ONE GLOBALLY IN LESS THAN 12 MONTHS, IS THAT WHEN WE SEE THESE POSITIVE NEWS, WE’RE TYPICALLY TALKING ABOUT VACCINES IN EARLY TRIALS CLEARING THE FIRST TWO HURDLES, WHICH IS THAT THEY’RE LOOKING SAFE, SO THEY’RE PROMISING THEY’RE NOT GOING TO CAUSE INJURY TO PEOPLE AND THEY LOOK LIKE THEY’RE PRODUCING THE TYPES OF IMMUNE RESPONSES THAT WE PREDICT WILL BE EFFECTIVE AGAINST COMBATING THE VIRAL INFECTION. NOW, THAT THIRD ONE IS THE ONE THAT TAKES THE MOST TIME TO KNOW, AND SO THAT’S WHERE WE’RE AT.WHEN YOU SEE HEADLINES THAT SAY VACCINES LOOK PROMISING, IT MEANS THAT SO FAR THE EARLY TRIALS LOOK SAFE AND THAT THEY’RE PRODUCING SOME TYPE OF RESPONSE IN THE IMMUNE SYSTEM, BUT IT’S TOO EARLY TO TELL WHETHER THOSE WILL BE PROTECTIVE.>> SO GIVEN THAT, IS A VACCINE LIKELY BY THE END OF THE YEAR?WHY OR WHY NOT?>> I THINK THAT IF YOU CLEAR THE FIRST TWO HURDLES YOU HAVE THE CONFIDENCE TO RELEASE A VACCINE WITHOUT KNOWING DEFINITIVELY WHETHER IT’S PROTECTIVE, AND ALSO WE DO SOMETHING PARALLEL TO THIS WITH THE FLU VACCINE WHERE WE GUESS WHAT THE FLU IS GOING TO LOOK LIKE AND THEN WE RELEASE A VACCINE NOT KNOWING EXACTLY WHICH STRAIN OF FLU IS GOING TO DOMINATE A FLU SEASON. SO WE FEEL CONFIDENT DOING THAT FROM A PUBLIC HEALTH PERFECT SPINNING OF BECAUSE WE KNOW THE RACK SEEN IS SAFE AND WILL GENERATE AN IMMUNE RESPONSE. AS LONG AS THOSE FIRST TWO HURDLES ARE CLEARED --WE HAVE THE EDUCATED HOPE THAT IT’S GOING TO BE PROTECTED. SO THE FACT THAT WE’RE ALREADY SEEING GOOD SIGNS PER THE FIRST TWO CRITERIA, SAFETY AND DRIVING IMMUNE RESPONSES, I THINK THAT PEOPLE CAN TRUST THE REPORTS WE’RE HEARING FROM THE. IN I.H. AND THE C.D.C. AND GLOBALLY THAT THE VACCINES LOOK GOOD. SO THE LAST LOGISTICAL PIECE IS ONCE WE HAVE VACCINES THAT ARE SAFE AND POTENTIALLY EFFECTIVE IS THE ACTUAL MANUFACTURING AND DEVELOPMENT OF ENOUGH OF A SUPPLY THAT WE CAN DISSEMINATE IT NATIONALLY AND GLOBALLY. SO THAT’S GOING TO BE THE BIGGEST LOGISTICAL HURDLE TO ROLLING OUT A FULL SCALE VACCINE IN DECEMBER OR JANUARY.BUT HEALTH PROFESSIONALS ARE OPTIMISTIC THAT THAT’S A POSSIBILITY, AND CERTAINLY EARLY 2021 SEEMS LIKE A REALISTIC TRAJECTORY SO FAR.>> ALL RIGHT, WE’LL BE WATCHING THAT.THANK YOU BOTH FOR JOINING US THIS MORNING.>> OF COURSE, THANKS.>> NEXT WE’LL ASK VERMONT SECRETARY OF STATE JIM CONDOS WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW AS HIS OFFICE RAMPS UP EFFORTS TO EXPAND MAIL-IN VOTING FOR THE PRIMARY AND FOR THE FALL.>> A RECORD NUMBER OF PEOPLE ARE REQUESTING BALLOTS AHEADS OF THE AUGUST PRIMARY ELECTIONS.IF ALL THOSE MAKE IT INTO THE BALLOT BOX, THAT WOULD TRANSLATE INTO SIX TIMES MORE ABSENTEE VOTES TONIGHT LAST PRIMARY.STATE LEADERS SAY IT’S A MIX OF FACTORS, BUT MOSTLY BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO STEER CLEAR OF THE TRADITIONAL POLLING BOOTHS BECAUSE OF CORONAVIRUS. AS OF MONDAY, 108,700 VERMONTERS HAD REQUESTED BALLOTS FOR THE PRIMARY ELECTION COMING UP, THAT’S ALREADY MORE THAN THE 107,637 VOTES THAT WERE CAST IN THE 2018 PRIMARY.JOINING US TO TALK MORE ABOUT MAIL-IN VOTING IS SECRETARY OF STATE JIM CONDOS, THANKS FOR BEING HERE.>> YOU’RE WELCOME.>> ANY IDEA HOW MANY BALLOTS HAVE BEEN CAST AT THIS POINT?>> WE DON’T HAVE THAT DATA AS YET, WE’RE STILL WAITING TO HEAR BACK FROM THE CLERKS, THEY’VE BEEN INUNDATED WITH PROVIDING THE, MAKING SURE THEY GET ALL THE MAIL BALLOTS OUT THAT HAVE BEEN REQUESTED, AND THAT’S BEEN THEIR FOCUS. AS THEY RECEIVE THEM, THEY’RE PROBABLY DATE STAMPING THEM, BUT THEY WILL PUT IT INTO THE SYSTEM AFTER I’M SURE THE NEXT TWO WEEKS OR SO.>> SO HAVING EMAIL FROM A WOMAN WHO WAS CONFUSED ABOUT WHY SHE GOT TWO BALLOTS, ONE OR EACH PARTY, SHE WANTED TO KNOW IF SHE HAD TO CHOOSE FROM ONLY ONE AND IF SO WHY THAT’S THE CASE.EXPLAIN HOW THE PRIMARY IS DIFFERENT FROM THE GENERAL ELECTION.>> THAT’S A GREAT QUESTION, WE GET THAT A LOT.BUT THE PRIMARY IS REALLY THREE ELECTIONS THAT ARE OCCURRING AT THE SAME TIME.ESSENTIALLY YOU HAVE A PROGRESSIVE ELECTION, A REPUBLICAN ELECTION, AND A DEMOCRATIC ELECTION.AND IT’S TO NOMINATE THE PEOPLE THAT WILL REPRESENT THEIR PARTIES ON THE UPCOMING GENERAL ELECTION BALLOT, WHICH WILL BE JUST ONE BALLOT. SO WHAT HAPPENS IN THE PRIMARY BY STATE LAW IS THAT YOU WILL, YOU CAN RECEIVE ALL THREE BALLOTS, YOU CAN ONLY VOTE ONE, AND THE OTHER TWO ARE DISCARDED.BUT IF YOU’RE DOING THIS BY MAIL, YOU HAVE TO PUT THE TWO UNVOTED BALLOTS INTO THE UNVOTED ENVELOPE, AND SEND BOTH THE CERTIFICATE ENVELOPE WHICH HAS YOUR VOTED BALLOT, AND THE UNVOTED BALLOTS BACK IN THE RETURN ENVELOPE.>> WE HAD A GENTLEMAN WRITE IN WHO SAID HE WAS CONCERNED ABOUT THE SECURITY OF MAIL-IN VOTING. TALK ABOUT WHAT’S DONE TO MAKE IT SECURE, AND ALSO HOW WE PROTECT PEOPLE’S PRIVACY IN TERMS OF WHO EVER OPENS THE BALLOT CAN SEE WHAT THEY VOTED.>> AND THAT’S ALSO A GREAT QUESTION.WHAT HAPPENS IS, FIRST OF ALL, AS FAR AS SECURITY ISSUES, THERE HAVE BEEN COUNTLESS STUDIES THAT HAVE BEEN DONE THAT SHOW, NONPARTISAN STUDIES THAT HAVE SHOWN THAT VOTING BY MAIL HAS REALLY GOT VERY LITTLE VOTER FRAUD, IF ANY.WE’VE BEEN VOTING BY MAIL IN VERMONT FOR DECADES, AND IN FACT IN THE LAST COUPLE ELECTION CYCLES WE’VE HAD UPWARDS OF 25 TO 30% VOTING EARLY. SO, AND OUR MILITARY SERVICE PERSONNEL HAVE BEEN VOTING SINCE THE CIVIL WAR BY MAIL. SO WE KNOW THAT IT WORKS.WE KNOW THAT IT’S SAFE, WE KNOW THAT IT’S SIMPLE, AND IT’S SECURE.ON TOP OF THAT, WITH THE CERTIFICATE ENVELOPE WHICH IS WHAT WE CALL THE PRIVACY ENVELOPE WHICH IS INCLUDED IF YOU RECEIVE YOUR BALLOTS BY MAIL, THERE’S THIS ENVELOPE YOU HAVE TO FILL OUT YOUR NAME, SIGN THE CERTIFICATE ENVELOPE UNDER PAINS OF, PENALTIES OF PERJURY, AND DATE IT, AND SEAL THAT ENVELOPE AND SEND IT BACK TO US IN THE PREPAID ENVELOPE.THAT INNER ENVELOPE IS KEPT THAT WAY UNTIL THEY ACTUALLY RUN THE BALLOTS THROUGH THE MACHINE. NOW, NOT FOR THE PRIMARY BUT IN THE GENERAL ELECTION WE WILL BE ADDING THE VOTER’S NAME, THE VOTER I.D. NUMBER AND THE BAR CODE, SPECIFIC BAR CODE TO THAT VOTER, TO HELP THE TOWN CLERKS SECURELY BRING THOSE BALLOTS BACK IN THROUGH THE SYSTEM.>> DOES THE STATE HAVE THE ABILITY TO PROCESS ALL OF THESE BALLOTS WE’RE GETTING?BECAUSE WE’RE GETTING A LOT MORE THAN WE USED TO.>> YES, WE DO.WE’VE BEEN WORKING VERY CLOSELY WITH THE TOWN CLERKS, AND THE VAST MAJORITY OF THEM ARE SUPPORTIVE OF WHAT WE’RE DOING.KEEP IN MIND THAT THE PRIMARY WE SEPTEMBER OUT A POST CARD, A PREPAID POST CARD TO REQUEST A BALLOT, WHERE AS FOR THE GENERAL ELECTION OUR PLAN IS TO DIRECTLY MAIL A BALLOT TO EVERY ACTIVE REGISTERED VOTER.>> WILL THERE STILL BE VOTING OPTIONS FOR PEOPLE WHO DON’T WANT TO SEND A BALLOT IN BY MAIL?>> ABSOLUTELY.ALL POLL LOCATIONS WILL BE OPEN, SO YOU HAVE THREE WAYS ESSENTIALLY THAT YOU CAN BRING YOUR BALLOTS BACK TO YOUR TOWN CLERK. ONE, YOU CAN SLIP IT INTO THE ENVELOPE THAT’S PREPAID, POSTAGE AND MAIL IT BACK. YOU CAN DELIVER IT TO YOUR TOWN CLERK DURING OFFICE HOURS, DURING THE EARLY VOTING PERIOD WHICH IS 45 DAYS, WE’RE CURRENTLY AT AROUND 20 DAYS, I THINK.AND THEN YOU CAN ALSO BRING IT TO THE POLL LOCATION IF YOU WANT TO DELIVER IT TO THE POLLS.AND IF BY CHANCE YOU GO TO WORK AND YOU FORGOT YOUR BALLOT AT HOME, YOU CAN ACTUALLY WALK INTO THE POLLS AND THEY CAN CHECK THEIR ROSTER, THEIR CHECK LIST TO SEE IF YOU HAD VOTED OR NOT, AND IF YOU HAVEN’T THEY WILL GIVE YOU ANOTHER BALLOT TO VOTE.THE CHECK OFF ON THE CHECK LIST BY THE TOWN CLERK IS ANOTHER SECURITY PROCEDURE.>> AND THAT’S HOW WE TELL IF SOMEONE ALREADY VOTED BY MAIL, SO THEY DON’T VOTE TWICE.>> CORRECT.>> SO IF SOMEONE DIDN’T GET A BALLOT, WHAT DO THEY NEED TO DO?>> CALL THEIR TOWN CLERK.THEY CAN GO ONLINE TO OUR WEBSITE, MY VOTER PAGE, WHICH IS MVP.--AND WITH A FEW QUICK PERSONAL IDENTIFICATION, CAN YOU GET INTO THE SYSTEM IF YOU’RE AN ACTIVE REGISTERED VOTER AND YOU CAN REQUEST YOUR BALLOT THAT WAY, ALTHOUGH I WILL SAY WE ARE GETTING CLOSE TO THE PERIOD WHERE GETTING THE BALLOT BY MAIL IS GOING TO BE A LITTLE MORE PROBLEMATIC.THINK ABOUT IT, NEXT TUESDAY, WE’RE ONLY 14 DAYS FROM THE PRIMARY. SO YOU DON’T HAVE A LOT OF TIME.THE OTHER WAY IS TO CALL OR EMAIL YOUR TOWN CLERK AND ASK HER TO SEND YOU A BALLOT.>> WHEN DO PEOPLE NEED TO SEND IN THOSE BALLOTS, WE’VE GOT A DEADLINE APPROACHING, AND WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT WAYS THAT PEOPLE CAN RETURN THEM. YOU’VE ALREADY LISTED THOSE, LET’S GO OVER THEM AGAIN SO PEOPLE WILL HAVE THAT INFORMATION.>> SURE, YOU CAN RETURN IT IN THE PREPAID POSTAGE ENVELOPE THAT’S PROVIDED.OR YOU CAN WALK IT INTO YOUR TOWN CLERK’S OFFICE AND DROP IT.MOST OF THE TOWN CLERKS OR A LOT OF THE TOWN CLERKS WILL HAVE SECURITY DROP BOXES, OR YOU CAN HAND IT DIRECTLY TO THE TOWN CLERK DURING THEIR NORMAL OFFICE HOURS. YOU CAN BRING IT TO THE POLLS AND HAND IT IN AT THAT POINT.OR, AS I SAID, YOU CAN ALSO, IF YOU HAVEN’T VOTED, YOU CAN GO AHEAD AND REQUEST YOUR BALLOT AT THE POLL LOCATION.AND KEEP IN MIND, AS OF YESTERDAY, WE HAD 122,000 PEOPLE WHO HAD REQUESTED THEIR ABSENTEE BALLOTS.IF YOU COMPARE THAT TO 2018 AND 2016 COMBINED, WE HAD LESS THAN 40,000 FOR THOSE TWO ELECTIONS, COMBINED. SO WE’RE WAY AHEAD OF WHERE WE WERE IN THE PAST.PEOPLE ARE TAKING SERIOUSLY THE PANDEMIC AND OUR WHOLE GOAL HAS BEEN TO DRIVE DOWN THE NUMBER OF IN-PERSON VOTERS TO PROTECT THE HEALTH AND SAFETY OF NOT ONLY THE VOTERS BUT OUR POLL WORKERS AND OUR TOWN CLERKS.>> WE’VE GOT ANOTHER MINUTE HERE AND I WANT TO GET TO THIS QUESTION.LOOKING AHEAD TO THE GENERAL ELECTION, WHERE IS YOUR OFFICE IN PREPARATION FOR THAT AND WHAT CAN VOTERS EXPECT BEFORE NOVEMBER?>> SO WE’VE BEEN WORKING ON THIS REALLY SINCE APRIL, AND WE ARE IN CONSTANT COMMUNICATION WITH BOTH THE MAIL HOUSE, THE PRINTERS TO MAKE SURE WE HAVE ENOUGH SUPPLIES ON HAND.WE’VE BEEN WORKING WITH THE POSTAL SERVICE, WE HAVE WEEKLY CALLS WITH THE POSTAL SERVICE TO ENSURE THAT WE’RE HAVING HIGH PRIORITY PLACED ON ELECTION MATERIAL.IF YOU LOOK AT THE ENVELOPE, I DIDN’T BRING ONE WITH ME, BUT IF YOU LOOK AT THE ENVELOPE IT IS CLEARLY LABELED ELECTION MATERIAL.AND THIS IS IN WORKING WITH THE POSTAL SERVICE. SO WHAT WILL HAPPEN IS PROBABLY MID TO LATE SEPTEMBER, A BALLOT WILL BE MAILED TO EVERY ACTIVE REGISTERED VOTER AND WHICH THEY CAN ACTUALLY VOTE AT THAT TIME AND GET IT BACK TO US.WE ARE EXPECTING A STRONG TURNOUT, AND WE THINK THAT THIS IS THE RIGHT WAY TO PROTECT THE HEALTH AND SAFETY OF ALL OF OUR VOTERS, POLL WORKERS AND TOWN CLERKS.>> SECRETARY OF STATE, JIM CONDOS, THANKS SO MUCH FOR BEING HERE.>> YOU’RE QUITE WELCOME.>> THAT WILL DO IT FOR US HERE ON “YOU CAN QUOTE ME.”THE CHANNEL 3 NEWS CONTINUES NEXT.MAKE IT A GREAT MORNING.

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