Q&A With the Candidates: Secretary of State | Election Voter Guide | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Q&A With the Candidates: Secretary of State


Published September 29, 2020 at 1:00 p.m.
Updated November 2, 2020 at 9:05 p.m.

Jim Condos and Pamala Smith - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • Jim Condos and Pamala Smith

The secretary of state oversees trademarks, professional licensing, and regulation of business services such as amusement park rides — as well as elections, which must feel like a bit of a roller coaster ride this year.

We asked the candidates for office to answer the following questions:

1. Do you believe that universal mail-in voting should become permanent in Vermont elections? Why or why not?

2. How do you rate Vermont's election security?

Jim Condos

Montpelier; Secretary of State; Democrat
  1. Yes — requires Legislative debate and approval. Universal Vote by Mail is being used for the 2020 General Election. We can learn from our experience and the experience of other states. I believe Vermonters should be provided easy access to voting and VBM provides that access. VBM is simple, safe, and secure.
  2. High — Our entire focus remains on providing Elections with a high degree of integrity. Including cyber security, which has gained prominence since 2016 with the Russia intervention. We have many defenses in place protecting our election infrastructure. Vermont is considered a national leader in protecting our technology systems.

Pamala Smith

St. Albans City; IT support staff for the University of Vermont; Independent
  1. I think Universal Mail-In Voting should become permanent to maximize voter turnout and yield more significant results (as voters can research candidates as they are voting). Alongside: It isn't too much to ask for a copy of a photo ID as well and the ability to vote in person stays.
  2. I don't know that Vermont's election security is worse than other states but there are multiple target points. I propose allowing voters to confirm their vote was cast correctly (by viewing the table of all votes, finding their private number, and checking their votes are recorded correctly).