As Vermonters get ready to go to the polls next week, Secretary of State Jim Condos says he's confident in the steps that the state has taken to protect the process against voter fraud.
Condos, who is running for his fourth term in office this election, says all signs are pointing to heavy turnout on Tuesday. Requests for early ballots are up and Vermont has a record number of people registered to vote.
"Just those three races alone will probably generate a lot of activity," says Condos. "I know that the major parties are also working to get out their voters so I suspect that we will see fairly heavy turnout this year."
Condos says concerns about voter fraud have surfaced in the race for president but he thinks his office has taken a number of steps to deal with this problem in Vermont.
Part of this preparation includes having the Department of Homeland Security conduct two cyber risk assessments of the state's election system.
"We are in really good shape so we feel strong, we feel confident," Condos says. "That's not to say we can't be hacked — you can always be hacked — and the question is have you been proactive and taken every step available to prevent that from happening."
Condos says it's very hard to hack into local voting machines because they aren't connected to the internet. And he says the optical scan tabulators that are used in many towns have an excellent track record for accuracy.
"We've never had a problem and these machines have been in use in Vermont, most of them are in the last ten years, but we've had them in some cases for probably close to 20 years," he says. "And we've never had a problem with them."
Will Senning is Vermont's director of elections. He says political parties are allowed to have two representatives at each voting location as poll watchers. But he says there are only two reasons why these party officials can challenge a person who wants to vote.
"That being that either the person is not, in fact, the person whose name appears on the checklists," he explains, "that would be for somebody trying to engage in in-person voter fraud, as they call it, or that the person has previously voted."
Senning says voter registration for next week's election will close at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 2.
He says all town clerks will be open until the deadline to sign up any last-minute voters.
To check your voting status, poll location and more, visit the Vermont Secretary of State's "My Voter Page."