Vermonters rally to make sure ballots everywhere are counted

Published: Nov. 4, 2020 at 5:04 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 5, 2020 at 7:54 AM EST
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MIDDLEBURY, Vt. (WCAX) - As uncertainty looms around the presidential election, people are starting to rally around the country, including here in Vermont.

Concerned Vermonters are sounding the alarm, worried that not every vote will be tallied especially after the president’s campaign team sued to stop counting in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia.

About 200 people gathered at the Middlebury town green Wednesday afternoon and lined nearby streets with protest signs that said “Every Vote Counts.”

The event was organized by a group called Protect our Democracy. Members told WCAX News that they are a bipartisan group that wants to ensure democracy is protected and that every vote is recognized in the election results. They say they support vote recounts only if done legally and without influence from either candidate.

“Well if it’s legal and I think they have a law saying that if the margin is less than one percent, yes, that’s legal and that should happen. But that should happen in a transparent way without any pressure from anyone. There shouldn’t be any sleight of hand or any pressure or pushing them. It just needs to be done calmly and professionally,” said Fran Putnam of Protect our Democracy. “We’re concerned in those states where they’re still counting votes that there’s going to be some attempt to stop votes or to cast some kind of suspicion on those votes and have them thrown out.”

As of Wednesday, neither candidate had the 270 electoral college votes needed to secure the presidency. The contest could come down to ballots that are still being counted in those seven states. Among those are three key battleground states: Nevada, Pennsylvania and Georgia.

Pennsylvania election officials say they’ve counted about half of the ballots so far. They got swamped with 10 times more absentee ballots than usual. Nevada and Georgia resumed counting their ballots Wednesday morning.

After the rally in Middlebury, WCAX News hit Church Street in Burlington to find out how voters there are feeling not knowing who the winner is 24 hours after Election Day. Many say they’re feeling a mix of emotions.

“It’s definitely very nerve-wracking. I feel like the more I wait, the more I have time to just worry and think," said Lila Kildon.

“I was really, really wanting a really, really big victory last night and then I sort of came to terms that it wasn’t going to quite be like that but I’m still feeling hopeful," said Molly Ritvo.

“Just driving down the streets and looking at cars and wondering if everyone else is feeling this poorly and then just being upset that we’re all kind of — we are in this together but we are upset together too which is hard,” said Amelia Chicoine.

Some voters say regardless of the outcome, it’s a lose-lose. Riley McGrath is disabled and gender nonbinary. They say they don’t think either candidate has their best interest in mind.

“So, how I feel about this all is just, I don’t. I don’t feel at all. Either way for me and other people, the results are probably just going to stay the same between the two Americas,” McGrath said.

And as President Trump sues battleground states to stop the ballot count, Dannah Bresser says she’s not surprised.

“There’s nothing about this that is unpredictable. This is the exact kind of behavior. It’s not like I’m shocked,” she said. "This is the behavior that Trump has exhibited and this is the divisiveness that our country is exhibiting. Here we are.”

Some people said they’re interested in attending peaceful protests this week to demand every vote be counted fairly and fully.

WCAX knows of at least two protests that are planned in the coming days.

The Battery Park Movement is holding a protest in Burlington on Thursday at 5:30. The Vermont Racial Justice Alliance is hosting a rally at the statehouse in Montpelier on Saturday afternoon.

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