Hon. Jim Condos
Vermont Secretary of State
128 State St
Montpelier, VT 05633
October 5, 2015
Dear Secretary Condos:
Thank your for your prompt response to my letter of October 2, 2015 concerning the brazen display of political bias by an election administrator in your office.
We are encouraged by your comments indicating a desire to avoid political bias within the division — but that doesn’t solve the problem.
While we appreciate that you’ve had a conversation with the employee, the absence of a specific and enforceable policy that ensures neutrality is a problem that must be solved. This is the only way to ensure neutrality at all times.
It is worth noting that the employee in question has worked on partisan political campaigns. Your decision to hire a partisan for a neutral elections division job is curious. It raises some questions, beyond whether or not it is appropriate for this employee to be expressing partisan opinions, that surely you would want to address. For example:
Was this employee’s experience as a partisan an influencing factor in his hiring?
Was there any discussion about employing this individual between you, your political party and/or the candidate(s) for whom he worked?
Was your concern about the perception of hiring a partisan campaign operative the subject of any discussions? Did it cross your mind at any point?
It is our view that Vermonters deserve more than a simple, “I took care of it” reply. We urge you to provide a more thorough and detailed accounting of how you will ensure that this never occurs again.
Specifically, given Vermonters’ continued concern, we hope you’ll immediately publish written guidelines for your elections division that illustrate your stated commitment to avoiding “even the appearance of bias.”
We will also ask Republican legislators to introduce a neutrality and accountability policy that would codify this standard in the state’s government operations and ethics laws.
Thank you for your continued attention to this very serious matter.
David Sunderland, Chairman
Vermont Republican Party