Vote fraud in small-town Vermont?

In a suit filed November 12 in Windham, Vermont, two town residents alleged that State of Vermont House representative (and former Democrat  majority leader) Carolyn Partridge knowingly solicited residents from another town — but who owned a vacant property in Windham — to vote in a controversial Windham school vote.  The suit includes as defendants the Windham School District and Windham Board of Civil Authority (responsible for voter checklists).

Representative Partridge stated that "the allegations are completely false." But in an amended complaint filed December 10, the plaintiffs include email exchanges with one of the three nonresidents Partridge allegedly groomed for illegal voting.

In the (alleged) email exchange, a non-resident woman from Peru, Vermont named Lisa Beshay was clearly hesitant to vote in Windham and had even been warned that one of the plaintiffs in this present suit was aware of her conflicting resident status:

"If I own property in Windham but reside in Peru, can I not vote in Windham? I thought I could vote in Windham because we own property but Alexis just told me Crystal is going after me for voting illegally."

Partridge replied by email: "She would! If you intend to return to your house/land eventually and have not registered somewhere else, you may vote in Windham. You might say that for health reasons you have had to rent elsewhere but it is your intention to return. That's all you need to say. If she goads you, remain silent. Maureen Bell has a brother who lives in Montreal and votes in Windham. And he knows nothing about the school!! As long as you're on the checklist, you are a legal voter."

The complaint alleges that this is a misstatement of the law, and that Mrs. Partridge was well aware of that fact.  The dubious ethicality of coaching someone to claim a health reason to defraud residency requirements is matched by the similarly shady suggestion that Ms. Beshay say it is her intention to return when it is not.

Carolyn Partridge knew that it was not her intention, for in a subsequent (alleged) email, she prompted the reluctant Beshay.  Per the amended complaint:

Partridge then asked Ms. Beshay in a subsequent email if Ms. Beshay applied for a grant to renovate her home. Ms. Beshay said she had not, and continued: "right now, we are focusing on our business, trying to grow it to a point where it is lucrative to accomplish one of those goals [of renovating or bulldozing the Windham home]. Our hope is to have something figured out before Charlotte starts school in a couple of years." ... Partridge's statement that Ms. Beshay may vote in Windham if she intends to move to her property "eventually" is not true, and upon information and belief, Partridge knew that it was not true. Partridge is a long time member of the Windham Board of Civil Authority, and a longtime member of the Windham School Board. The standards for residency for voting and for school attendance are virtually identical, and Partridge must be familiar with the standards.

Lisa Beshay specifically informed Representative Partridge that she did not intend to even consider renovating her dilapidated former Windham residence for a couple of years.  That is not an intent to return sufficient to establish residency.  Yet three people were allegedly cajoled by these falsehoods from Carolyn Partridge to still travel to Windham and participate in the subsequent school vote.  And they did.

This blatant misconduct is accompanied by a bold boast about a Canadian who votes regularly in this local election, aided and abetted by (fellow Democrat?) Maureen Bell — the chair of the Windham Selectboard!  Small-town Vermont is the perfect place for cozy elitists to manipulate the locals, and Carolyn Partridge has done so with gusto.  She is a state rep and is on the Windham School Board and the Board of Civil Authority. That's a lot of hats to wear concurrently — one could get conflicted.

The original complaint was filed prior to the provision of the relevant emails pursuant to a public records request — Representative Partridge and Windham school superintendent Bill Anton had initially balked at releasing them, for now obvious reasons.  In view of the sheer audacity of Representative Partridge's inappropriate conduct, the amended complaint requests that the Court fine Partridge and refer her for investigation to the appropriate prosecutorial authorities:

Defendant Partridge, as indicated above, aided unqualified persons to vote in the school closure vote on November 2, 2021 by telling Ms. Beshay she could vote even though she knew Ms. Beshay was no longer a town resident. ... Plaintiffs pray this Honorable Court, pursuant to its broad mandate in 17 V.S.A. § 2603, issue fines to Carolyn Partridge who aided unqualified persons to vote in the school closure vote, and pursuant to the statute noted above, forward the transcript of the hearing to the state's attorney, if warranted.

It will be interesting to see if there are any consequences of significance to this flagrant abuse of trust by this veteran carpetbagging Democrat.  It certainly would shock Vermonters if Carolyn Partridge were charged with even a misdemeanor — public officials are generally teflon in the Green Mountains.

But wouldn't that be a great gift for Vermonters for Christmas?  A Partridge in a fair plea.

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Image: Famartin via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0 (cropped).

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