Court Battles

Judge rejects challenge to Vermont mail-in voting plan

A federal court on Wednesday refused to block Vermont’s plans to mail all active voters a ballot for the November election.

U.S. District Judge Geoffrey Crawford rejected a motion for a preliminary injunction blocking the plan, giving the five Vermont citizens challenging the voting system 30 days to file a notice of appeal, according to The Associated Press.

“A vote cast by fraud or mailed in by the wrong person has a mathematical impact on the final tally and thus on the proportional effect of every vote, but no single voter is specifically disadvantaged,” Crawford wrote, according to VTDigger.

“We remain on the right course of action: planning for the worst by sending a ballot to all voters, so that no voter needs to choose between protecting their health and exercising their Constitutional right to vote,” Secretary of State Jim Condos (D) said in a statement.

Plaintiffs included state Rep. Brian Smith (R), former state Rep. Robert Frenier (R) and Tracey Martel, the clerk for the town of Victory. They argued that ballots could be cast improperly, “diluting” the votes of other Vermonters.

“Of all people likely to be confused about how to vote, these five plaintiffs must be the last on the list,” Crawford wrote.

Ballots are scheduled to go out beginning Sept. 21. Condos said this week that all voters should have received theirs by Oct. 1.

“We’re focused on harm to the individual,” said David Warrington, the plaintiffs’ lawyers. “That is a harm that is concrete. That is addressable by courts.”

Philip Back, who represented Condos’s office in the lawsuit, said the plan would not deprive anyone of their right to vote.

“Having two ballots isn’t a problem,” he said, according to the AP. “It’s the voting twice that’s a problem, and we have systems in place to prevent that.”

Tags Vermont

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