New Vote Tally Leaves One Vote Difference in Progressive Primary and Criticism

Sep 7, 2012

The Progressive Party is a major party in Vermont, and the recent gubernatorial primary has resulted in a recount request from a write-in candidate and criticism from Republicans over how the state is handling the vote count.

The initial results in the Progressive primary showed the party-backed gubernatorial candidate Martha Abbott defeating write-in challenger Annette Smith by 17 votes. Abbott immediately announced that she would not actually run for governor.  But results certified on Thursday now show a one vote difference and the challenger has filed for a recount. Annette Smith, the write-in candidate, has been characterized as a reluctant candidate.  She says she has had to distance herself as a candidate because she runs a non-profit and does not want to violate federal election law. But Smith says she’s learning and witnessing the process, and describes it as messed up.

Secretary of State Jim Condos explained that the initial count was wrong because a fax from a clerk’s office was misread.

The situation has brought harsh criticism from the state’s Republican Party chair.  Jack Lindley issued a statement Thursday saying that the handling of the vote count casts doubt on the accountability of the Secretary of State’s office.

Jim Condos says the Republican comments are unfounded and simple politics.

Abbott’s withdrawal from the gubernatorial race just after she thought she won the primary does make sense to Seven Days News Editor Andy Bromage.

Bromage says the Republicans have provided no evidence with their allegations of collusion.

Calls to the Vermont Progressive Party were not returned in time for this broadcast.