Vermont voters break midterm turnout record
MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermont elections officials Tuesday certified last week’s results, which they say was a record turnout for a midterm election.
Nearly 292,000 of the state’s 506,000 registered voters let their voices be heard last week by mail and in person. “That’s something Vermonters should be proud of,” said Secretary of State Jim Condos, D-Vt.
The state’s Canvassing Committee officially certified all of last Tuesday’s vote totals, including wins for Governor Phil Scott, Lieutenant governor-elect David Zuckerman, and Congresswoman-elect Becca Balint.
Leaders say this year’s vote was a smooth process despite some confusion in Franklin County, which saw a massive number of write-in votes in the sheriff’s race. Candidate John Grismore was the only name on the ballot. But with an assault charge pending, he faced a write-in campaign. Grismore ultimately won with 8,900 votes. But nearly 20,000 voters wrote in a different name. No single candidate was close to Grismore’s total, but counting all of those write-ins was a challenge.
“Some towns will report them, some won’t. They aren’t required to report them that night and that’s because we’re trying to get in as much data as we can on the named candidates,” Condos said.
Tuesday’s certification comes at a pivotal time for Vermont elections -- a banner year amid new House and Senate lines from redistricting, new vote tabulators, and universal mailed ballots. In some other states, it also featured a skepticism of elections. Elections division director Will Senning says reporting preliminary results in real-time -- which started in 2012 -- is aimed at improving trust in elections.
“When providing that transparency then creates this skepticism based on what’s happening on the ground in real-time and it makes me and some of my colleagues say, ‘Should we provide that reporting in the first place?’” he said. But Senning says that transparency is ultimately still for voters.
Tuesday also marked the deadline to file for a recount. The Orange County Sheriff’s race along with House races in Bennington-1, Rutland-2, and Grand Isle are all heading to a recount.
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