by Bob Fireovid
Gov. Phil Scott has vetoed two bills (H.177 and H.227) that would allow non-citizens to vote in municipal elections. Why is this important? The Vermont Constitution clearly states…
“[VOTER’S QUALIFICATIONS AND OATH] Every person of the full age of eighteen years who is a citizen of the United States…”
Our State Constitution defines what government can do and how it can do it. It also defines the rights of citizens and what the government CANNOT do. Through H.177 and H.227, the Democratic-controlled General Assembly is trying to unilaterally amend our Constitution without going through the Constitutionally-defined process for doing so. Think about it. If Democrats can easily force small changes in our Constitution, what’s to stop them from making large changes? It’s extremely important that we-the-people firmly protect the only document that protects our rights.
The Democratic leaders in the General Assembly have vowed to override Gov. Scott’s vetoes of H.177 and H.277. However, if every Republican in the General Assembly votes to uphold Gov. Scott’s veto, then the Democrats will NOT have the number of votes (2/3rds) needed to override the Governor.
All the Republican Senators and most Republican Representatives voted against H.177 and H.277. But some Republican Representatives voted FOR these bills, and these legislators are listed below. If your Representative is on this list, it’s very important that as many residents as possible in their legislative districts contact these Representatives and ask them to change their votes so that they uphold Gov. Scott’s vetoes of H.177 and H.227.
Be respectful but firm; understand that they will be under tremendous pressure from Democratic leaders to override the Governor’s veto. Contact information for any legislator is available here. If you phone and get an answering machine or answering service, then leave a message. These Republican legislators who voted for H.177 or H.227 (“A” means they were absent from the vote; we need them to actually vote against overriding)…
Rep. Scott Beck (St. Johnsbury)…………Y/Y [H.227/H.177]
Rep. Patrick Brennan (Colchester)……..A/N [H.227/H.177]
Rep. Thomas Burditt (West Rutland)… A/N [H.227/H.177]
Rep. Anne Donahue (Northfield)……….N/Y [H.227/H.177]
Rep. Peter Fagan (Rutland City)………..N/Y [H.227/H.177]
Rep. Martha Feltus (Lyndon)…………….Y/A [H.227/H.177]
Rep. Robert Helm (Fairhaven)…………..A/N [H.227/H.177]
Rep. Francis McFaun (Barre Town)…..N/Y [H.227/H.177]
Rep. Robert Norris (Sheldon)……………N/A [H.227/H.177]
Rep. Heidi Scheuermann (Stowe)………N/Y [H.227/H.177]
Rep. Patrick Seymour (Sutton)……….. .N/Y [H.227/H.177]
If your Republican legislators are not listed above, then they voted against H.177 and H.227. Hooray for them; but it’s still important for as many residents as possible in their districts to contact them, thank them for their “nay” votes, and ask them to uphold Gov. Scott’s veto. They will also be under tremendous pressure from Democratic leaders to override, but they must vote, and they must vote to uphold the vetoes.
A few Democratic legislators actually voted against H.177 or H.277. If any of these legislators represent your district, then as many residents as possible need to contact them, thank them for their “nay” votes, and ask them to uphold Gov. Scott’s veto. They will be under the most pressure from Democratic leaders to override. Here they are…
Sen. Mazza (G.I.)…………………..N/Y [H.227/H.177]
Sen. Nitka (Windsor)……………..N/N [H.227/H.177]
Sen. Starr (Essex-Orleans)…….N/N [H.227/H.177]
Rep. Corcoran (Bennington)……N/N [H.227/H.177]
Rep. Sullivan (Dorset)……………N/Y [H.227/H.177]
You may hear that the “Legislative Counsel” said that these bills were consistent with the Constitution. However, the Legislative Counsel was not 100% certain about that; and a judge might very well disagree with this opinion. The Legislative Counsel essentially works for the General Assembly, which is led by Democrats. Attorneys are paid to find legal arguments to justify what their clients want to do, and the Legislative Counsel is no exception.
By way of his vetoes, Gov. Scott has given we-the-people a tremendous gift. Let’s not waste his efforts! Let’s not let Democrats whittle-away at our State Constitution and our rights!
The author is a Grand Isle County resident.