Gassetts: Non-citizen, 16-year-old voting bills violate Constitution

by Dale and Nancy Gassett

The Vermont State Constitution lays out Vermont’s governmental structure and our rights. It is the supreme foundational  law of the State of Vermont.  

The aim and overall purpose of the Vermont State Constitution is communicated in Article 7.  It was written for the common benefit of ALL the people, for equal consideration, equal  freedom and equal justice. It is expressly NOT for the advantage or favoritism of a person or  set of persons.  

Vermonters’ expectations that the Vermont State Constitution will be respected, adhered to  and preserved is justified by the oath elected officials take:  “To be true and faithful to the State of Vermont and not do any act or thing injurious to the Constitution or Government.”  

Vermonters should expect that the lawful process laid out to amend the Vermont State  Constitution will be followed by their elected representatives. That process rightfully  involves The people of Vermont as having the last say in any proposed changes through a  statewide vote. 

Some of our present Vermont lawmakers have proposed and voted on two bills that will  change the Vermont State Constitution. Rather than following the lawful process laid out to  amend the State Constitution, they are flagrantly usurping The people of Vermont, those they are elected to represent. 

Requirements necessary to qualify as a voter in Vermont are laid out in the Vermont State  Constitution. One requirement is to be 18 years of age and another is to be a United States  citizen. Present lawmakers have proposed bills that would allow the voting age to  change to 16 years old in Brattleboro and also allow for non-citizens to vote in Montpelier.  

Why are lawmakers ignoring the voter qualifications that are clearly written in the Constitution? Why are they ignoring the amendment process and leaving out  the people of Vermont? Why are lawmakers trying to pass laws giving advantage  and favoritism to certain groups of people in Vermont? We have asked lawmakers  these questions and we have not received answers.

If we can’t depend on those we elect to keep their oaths and protect our Constitution and government, how is our state government for The People, By the People? Have lawmakers become the law? Has our government become a government of the lawmakers by the lawmakers? 

What is our recourse for these violations of  public trust? As laid out in Article 6, it is our citizen function to hold our Elected Officials accountable to the law. 

Please contact your lawmakers and give your input on this  important matter. The present Windham County area lawmakers who have  proposed and agreed by vote to the changes communicated in this letter are:  

Rep. Emilie Kornheiser, Windham 2-1 Rep. Emily Long, Windham 5 Rep. Tristan Toleno, Windham 2-3 Rep. Molly Burke, Brattleboro Rep. Sara Coffey, Vernon/Guilford Rep. Michael Mrowicki, Putney Rep. Carolyn Partridge, Windham 3  

There are many more Vermont Lawmakers who agreed on these changes through two proposed Bills, H.177 and H.361.

The authors live in Vernon.

Categories: Commentary

6 replies »

  1. As long as lawmakers, including the President proclaim that “they (the government) are the people” we are going to continue to have a government that sees it’s self as being unaccountable to the people whom they are supposed to serve. Term limits would, in my opinion, go a long way to instill in politicians that they personally are not indispensable to the process, or the electorate, and in reality need to be changed like a diaper, to insure that they remain fresh, and responsive to “the people” not to their own, or lobbyists concerns.

  2. It’s passed time! This was bound to happen in light of our largely apathetic or ill-informed electorate. That being said – this bodes as another example for all including Republicans – who appointed a teenager to be in charge of the Burlington GOP. He refused to essentially allow GOP candidates to run, loathed Trump, and then as he exited – bad-mouthed the entire party.

  3. Since when does the US or VT Constitution matter to the VT Legislature? Their prerogative is to promote their version of “social justice”, which typically is policy that benefits the demoKKKrat party.

  4. Thank you Guy – home run! Yes it is time to stand up – get out – meet like minded people, ask, listen and learn – and most of all HELP OUR CHILDREN. These people are lawless…