Vermont secretary of state blasts wind developer's proposed payments to voters

Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos said Thursday that Iberdrola’s financial incentive to registered voters is “pushing the envelope in an attempt to influence the vote” on a 24-turbine wind project proposed for Windham and Grafton.

This month, Spanish renewable energy firm Iberdrola offered a community benefits package to Windham and Grafton voters to entice them to allow a giant wind farm in the Stiles Brook Forest area.

The company promised to give $1,162 for every voter in Windham and $427 to Grafton voters. Opponents of the project responded by accusing the developer of vote buying.

While Condos stopped short of calling the money a bribe or undue influence, he said the money could influence how people will vote on Nov. 8.

“It is particularly disturbing that this cash incentive is being offered to ‘registered voters’ only, creating, in my view, a direct line between the money and the vote,” Condos wrote in a letter to Windham Selectboard Chair Frank Seawright.

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