The Vermont Municipal Clerks’ and Treasurers’ Association is raising concerns that already hardworking election officials would be overloaded by a pending House bill intended to address controversy over legislative-race recounts last fall. “The last couple years there’s been so much coming at us that something’s going to break,” said Karen Richard, the town clerk for Colchester, Vt., who also heads the association’s legislative committee. Richard cited several mandates that have come down from the Legislature in the past few years, including requirements that clerks report unofficial results to the Secretary of State’s Office on Election Day and deal with same-day registrants, online registration, automatic DMV registration and unlimited early absentee voting.
Proponents of H. 512 say the bill would set clearer expectations for recounts in the wake of whisker-thin elections to the Vermont House in seats representing the Chelsea and Royalton areas.
Although Richard said she supported having clearer recounts, she said the workload on clerks poses its own danger to the integrity of Vermont elections.
She said the proposed legislation promises to add more requirements, including that clerks must write notes on defective ballots and put them into the sealed container that goes out for counting.