Q&A: Democratic Candidates for Secretary of State | Primary Voter Guide | Seven Days


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The Secretary of State’s Office manages emblems, skilled licensing and regulation of business enterprise companies like data brokers, telemarketers and amusement trip operators. It truly is also liable for overseeing Vermont elections. Its elections division maintains a database of lobbyists and 1 for campaign finance disclosures, and it is effective with community Boards of Civil Authority to be certain that the checklist of registered voters is exact.

The latest secretary of condition, Democrat Jim Condos, is retiring. 3 Democrats are vying for the prospect to symbolize the get together in November’s common election.


Sarah Copeland Hanzas


Condition representative and chair of the House Committee on Governing administration Operations, former enterprise proprietor

Why are you operating?

Democracy is underneath risk from intentional misinformation to elections deniers. As chair of Property Gov Ops, I have worked with all departments of the Secretary of State’s business office, most carefully with elections. I will consider my skills and enthusiasm for great federal government to the combat to defend democracy in Vermont.

A few achievements that qualify you for the office environment:

As a compact enterprise operator, legislative vast majority chief and House committee chair, I have labored across substantial teams with diverse viewpoints to direct transform and obtain consensus. I have also invested 18 yrs listening to the strategies and concerns of my constituents, navigating powerful and complex troubles that expected the two focus to detail and an eye to the huge photograph.

How will you safeguard the integrity of Vermont’s elections?

Town clerks are our area keepers of election integrity. I am going to go on to deploy true-time help to clerks on Election Day, boost coaching for new town clerks, complete election audits across the point out making sure paper ballots match the claimed tallies and be certain we are accessible for issues or considerations at all periods.

Name a Vermonter who inspires you.

Vermont’s academics are the heroes of our communities. Exclusively, Kate Grant. When educational facilities closed in 2020, Kate drove to college every working day and Zoomed from her automobile simply because she could not go inside of. She and so several other teachers put life on keep to be existing and supportive to their learners.

John Odum


Montpelier town clerk, previous justice of the peace

Why are you operating?

To convey the neighbor-to-neighbor expertise of a city clerk to the office, to leverage OPR to be a conduit to endorse values this kind of as inclusion and environmental stewardship by achieving out to Vermont gurus, and as an election cybersecurity expert I believe we need to have a comprehensive reimagining of voting protection.

A few accomplishments that qualify you for the business office:

To start with: I have properly managed and modernized my regional clerk’s workplace functions, which include elections, licensing, archives and more. Second: By way of my do the job with the University of Chicago Cyber Policy Institute, I have assisted to modify the nationwide dialogue on election cybersecurity. Third: I have a profitable file of serving and listening to Vermonters as a community elected official.

How will you defend the integrity of Vermont’s elections?

Disinformation need to be countered, but SoS requires a best-to-bottom cybersecurity redesign. As a “licensed moral hacker” I will lead the country in creating a focused safe network for town clerks to control elections and move away from faceless, insecure third-bash election protection businesses to a much more secure “open supply” model.

Identify a Vermonter who inspires you.

Vermont is also comprehensive of inspiring, incredible people for me to choose one particular. I have election volunteers that amaze and encourage me. My relatives amazes and conjures up me. There are so numerous people today doing the job on results in that have contributed so a lot much more of them selves than I at any time could. It really is unanswerable.

Chris Winters


Deputy secretary of condition, earlier director of the Workplace of Expert Regulation, legal professional

Why are you jogging?

Democracy is less than assault. We ought to hold the line and fight “The Big Lie.” I have a verified keep track of report of guarding elections. I am passionate about lessening limitations, enhancing expert services, and bringing security and continuity to this place of work at a time when Vermont requirements an experienced and successful chief.

Three achievements that qualify you for the business:

I have overseen our #1 nationally rated elections, carried out common vote by mail in 2020 and focused on access for New Us residents and folks with disabilities.

I have created Vermont a countrywide chief in qualified regulation.

I am driving enhancement of a one-cease organization portal for business enterprise owners to connect them to all vital governmental providers.

How will you secure the integrity of Vermont’s elections?

I will carry on the very good perform we have been doing at the Secretary of State’s Business. This features concentrating on blocking hacking, constructing excellent associations with safety companions, and concentrating on civic training and sources. I know democracy depends on Vermonters’ faith in our election technique and each and every other.

Identify a Vermonter who conjures up you.

Patrick Leahy is a real public servant. He is blind in a person eye. When Sen. Leahy realized that my youthful son experienced an accident creating blindness in 1 eye, he attained out wanting to connect with him. I strive to be an empathetic and proactive community servant like Sen. Leahy.


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