Jim Condos says election certification could take until next week ‘at the latest’

Secretary of State Jim Condos speaks during the statewide canvass of the Vermont 2020 general election results in Montpelier. File photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger

Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos now says it could be early next week “at the latest” before the results of the Aug. 9 primary election can be certified.

The Secretary of State’s Office said last week it would delay the county and state Senate canvass — the process by which election results are certified — as it works through a problem with its technology vendor. On Tuesday, Condos said it also would delay the canvass for statewide and federal races.

“As secretary of state, I want to assure the public that these administrative delays do not impact the 100% confidence that we have in the accuracy of the vote totals for all the candidates as reported by the town clerks,” Condos said in an afternoon press conference outside his office. 

He said he was “sincerely sorry” for the holdup, but added that the state was still expected to certify results quickly compared to other states.

“I do want to remind you all that Vermont has one of the fastest certifications in the country. Most (other states) take 14 to 30 days to certify their results,” he said.

Vermont first used its current software system during the 2016 election, according to Will Senning, who leads the election division at the Secretary of State’s Office. At the time, the system was developed by PCC Technology Group, a Connecticut-based firm, which has since been bought out by Civix. 

Condos said the office has used the same system during the 2018 and 2020 elections, when things worked “flawlessly.” 

Officials said the problem arose this year because of legislative redistricting, which the state must undergo every 10 years following the Census. The new legislative map split some municipalities, which confused the state’s election software into assigning the wrong candidates to certain districts in canvassing documents.

The issue is not the vote count, officials stressed again Tuesday, but reporting it accurately in canvassing reports.

“We simply need time to ensure that the reports we generate are exact matches to the official return of votes submitted by town clerks,” Condos said.

Civix did not return an emailed request for comment.

The continued delays in the certification process come as a recount is set to begin this week in the Chittenden-Central state Senate district Democratic primary, where Erhard Mahnke finished just two votes behind Martine Gulick. Mahnke has requested a recount in Chittenden County Superior Court, and Senning said a judge in that case has asked for the certified canvass of that race to be in hand by Wednesday so that the recount can begin Friday.

“We’re going to meet that deadline,” Senning said.

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Lola Duffort

About Lola

Lola Duffort is a political reporter for VTDigger, covering Vermont state government, the congressional delegation and elections. She previously covered education for Digger, the Concord Monitor in New Hampshire and the Rutland Herald. She has also freelanced for the Miami Herald in Florida, where she grew up. She is a graduate of McGill University in Canada.

Email: [email protected]

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