Here is the text of my responses in CCTV’s Town Meeting TV debate (09/24).
Please tell us why you are running and what experience you bring to the position?
The Office of Secretary of State is a common career goal for those with a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, which I have, because, though it is an elected position and by all means should stay that way, it is an administrative/management leadership position in the Public Sector.
It requires someone who recognizes the immense value of public services and who can manage the implementation of initiatives meant to benefit the greater good.
Jim Condos said that he is, “…well known for reaching across the aisle” – meaning working with Republicans.
The question of election integrity has consumed our society for far too long.
Jim Condos insists that the current system is trustworthy, even though many people object to or doubt that assertion.
Voters know who they voted for and adequate assurance that takes into account verification by them is needed.
If we could remove a lot of the questions surrounding election security, whether or not the Secretary of State is willing to “…reach across the aisle” should not be a factor.
There is nothing about this administrative office that should be related to party affiliation.
I also have 14 years of experience, education, and research in the field of Information Technology which would serve the Office of Secretary of State well.
What will be different for the people of the State of Vermont because you have been elected to the position?
One of my proposed initiatives is to anonymize professional regulation complaints and post them publicly.
Part of the mission of the Office of Professional Regulation is, “To safeguard the public who may lack a basis for judging what constitutes acceptable quality in service or conduct.”
Subsection 131 of Title 3 of Vermont Statutes Annotated explicitly states that the Office of Secretary of State shall not make public any other information about complaints and investigations than those that are explicitly allowed.
I propose that the Office does not get to choose what to make public. If complaints are anonymized and the reasons for judgment are given that is accountability.
That is what would help citizens to “…develop a basis for what constitutes acceptable quality in service or conduct.”
I will fight for citizens’ rights. I will fight hard to get this part of the statute changed and implement public posting of anonymized complaints.
And in this way, allow citizens as customers to inform their neighbors of their experiences and to publicly notify the industries of how they have been rated so that they can decide to improve their service if they choose.
Citizens should not be compelled to patronize service providers without knowledge of what can be expected in industries that can play a large role in life and death.
One of the jobs of Vermont’s Secretary of State is to oversee election security. What more needs to be done to encourage widespread voting and ensure people’s participation in the democratic process? Do you support non-citizen voting?
I would like to implement a function in the voting process that allows voters to verify the correct recording of their votes.
Layers of security are necessary but one essential layer that is missing is the confirmation or rejection of that record of a voter’s votes by the voter him/herself.
They alone know what the correct record should look like.
The first outcome that I would hope to see as a result of this implementation is for there to be a greater pool of candidates running for elected office. A healthy candidate pool CAN be indicative of voter confidence and should lead to greater turnout as well.
Regarding whether I support non-citizen voting. And answer requires more knowledge of immigration policy than I currently have. Are there situations where permanent residents are so for an exceedingly long time without becoming citizens?
I didn’t end up saying this next short paragraph. (I was just uncomfortable with my knowledge of the situation).
[How much of a concern is abuse of the process by foreign nationals – in terms of numbers? It may be that some categories of non-citizens should have the right to vote.]
I am not confident that I gathered enough of the right information yet to answer this question.
Part of elections oversight and protecting democracy is maintaining a good working relationship with Town and City Clerks. Are clerks prepared to handle potential foreign election tampering and how will you communicate with and assist clerks?
80% of Vermont’s votes are counted with a vote tabulator machine. Reading the Guide to Vermont’s Vote Tabulators from the Secretary of State’s page definitely made me dizzy more than once before I was done.
One of the benefits of having me as Secretary of State is that I would place a high value on simplicity. A town clerk lacking clarity of the process would not be the strongest defense against foreign election tampering.
Assaults on election integrity can take place in a number of places, points in time, and forms.
Physical and electronic intrusion with the purpose of corrupting the results in one way or another could be better avoided if some confusion is removed from the process.
I will communicate with and assist clerks in whatever way works best and is necessary. That said, I would intend to work on making the web page serve enough of the required functions between our office and municipal offices so as to limit the need for repeatedly construction clarification.
I imagine the Secretary of States web page to consist of more tables and decision trees – I would intend to use more graphics versus paragraph after paragraph. I hope to make the web page easier to use for both municipal officials and citizens.
The Secretary of State’s Office is in many ways a very important non-partisan office and yet it is an elected position. Why is it important that we continue to elect our Vermont Secretary of State?
The official responsible for overseeing the integrity of elections should be nothing other than an elected position.
The Professional Regulation Division was established in this office because of its purpose to “protect the citizens against unethical, incompetent, or otherwise unprofessional behavior by licensed practitioners.”
Both the Elections Division and the Office of Professional Regulation are specifically established to serve the whole population of the state in a governmental capacity.
It would be an incredibly hard fight to win to take away the right of the citizens to choose this position.
Secretary of State’s offices in different states take on different forms. In Vermont the office includes a number of very important functions making it a comparatively difficult job to fill.
However, there is no one personality or one set of experiences of skill set that can lead this office.
Just as important is that the citizens can trust the election process.
Big issues like Climate Change, Immigration Reform, Racial Justice and Health Care do touch the lives of Vermonters through the office of Secretary of State. How would you use the office to improve the lives of all Vermonters in light of such large political & social issues?
Having an election system that attracts more high quality candidates and that further compels voters to make a choice of a representative is what will have an effect on big issues.
Voters decide if they can trust the process – no one tells them whether or not they should have trust.
Jim Condos likes to insist that we should trust the system. He has had access to millions of dollars to be used to increase voter turnout. I would say that he has not chosen the best route toward this end.
It helps to be a registered voter and to have ballots on hand. And it is also handy and entertaining to see real-time unofficial results on election night.
However, if this years candidate pool says anything citizens are not all of a sudden feeling comfortable.
Both Jim Condos and H. Brooke Paige ran uncontested races in the primary.
If there is not a strong showing to run against the incumbent Secretary of State, it is not citizens’ problems, the fault lies in the current system & the current leadership.
If you didn’t vote in the primary this past September [sic] don’t let anyone tell you you should feel bad about yourself. More than 12,000 Democrats and more than 16,000 republicans chose not to vote for anyone, than to circle the one dot available to them.
A high quality sound pool of candidates will be better equipped to work together and affect change.