Legislation

Teenage voting veto upheld

Dems join Senate GOP in supporting Scott veto of Brattleboro charter change

Senate Pro Tem Becca Balint takes the roll as the Senate yesterday upholds Gov. Scott’s veto of 16-17 year old voting in Brattleboro.

By Guy Page

With five Democrats voting with every Senate Republican, the Vermont Senate yesterday upheld Gov. Phil Scott’s veto of H361, the Brattleboro charter change that would have given 16-17 year olds the right to vote in municipal elections and hold local office. 

The vote was 15-12 to override, well short of the two-thirds needed. Senators who voted to override were: Sens. Phil Baruth, Chris Bray, Brian Campion, Allison Clarkson, Ann Cummings, Ruth Hardy, Cheryl Hooker, Jane Kitchel, Virginia Lyons, Chris Pearson, Andrew Perchlik, Anthony Pollina, Kesha Ram Hinsdale, Michael Sirotkin, and Brattleboro resident Jeanette White. (All are Democrats and/or Progressives.) 

Those Senators who voted in the negative were: Joe Benning, Randy Brock, Tom Chittenden (D), Brian Collamore, Russ Ingalls, Mark MacDonald (D), Richard Mazza (D), Richard McCormack (D), Alice Nitka (D), Robert Starr (R/D), Josh Terenzini, and Richard Westman. (Unless indicated otherwise, all are Republicans.)

Several of “No” Democrats – including Nitka and Mazza – are often considered to be among the more conservative, independent Democratic senators. All of the Progressive senators voted in favor.

Those senators absent or not voting were: Richard Sears, Corey Parent, and Becca Balint, also of Brattleboro. A subdued Balint was presiding over the roll call vote, which was taken without any debate. Presiding senators only vote in the event of a tie.

The upheld veto was a clear loss for Senate Pro Tem Balint, who had postponed the vote for two weeks. Republican senators had been quietly informing their supporters that several Democrats appeared willing to uphold the veto. Despite apparent pressure from the Democratic leadership (Balint and Senate Majority Leader Clarkson), enough senators successfully broke ranks. 

“I voted yes but understand that there have been some concerns raised that were not addressed,” Sen. Jeannette White (D-Windham) said. “The issues concern the ability of those under 18 to sign contracts. State law says that only those over can sign contracts. Signing contracts is a responsibility of a select board member. I will work with the Town of Brattleboro to address these issues over the next year.”

Balint was a strong backer of H361, as she showed in a statement after the bill cleared the Senate: “As someone who got my start in politics by being an elected member to our Brattleboro Representative Town Meeting, I support this charter change. We have been talking about this for a long time in my hometown. And the vote was overwhelming at the representative town meeting.

“Vermont is held together by duct tape, twine, and civic engagement. We should do all we can to get residents engaged in our democracy early in their lives. I’m proud the Senate supported this charter change and I’m excited for the young people of Brattleboro who have fought for this opportunity over the past ten years.”

13 replies »

  1. If you’re old enough to vote, then you should also be considered old enough to buy booze, guns and cannabis. The pen is mightier than the sword. We already have enough problems in Vermont because immature and irresponsible adults vote.

  2. Well, what do you know? One win for common sense. Though the Govenor’s reasoning is technical not to the core of the question!

  3. And the Vermont Constitution was upheld. A big round of applause to the Dems who decided they’d had enough of bowing to the Progressive mandates. Hope they wake up some others!!!

    All those who voted for masks, Covid mandates, CRT, uncontrollable cannabis sales – yes – your town can’t protect you from fire hazards, skunk smells, and where licenses and may not allow you to know if it is a cartel that owns them because the State Cannabis Control Board removed these protective measures from the Local Cannabis Control Boards – and many other agenda items. They had to bow and vote the Dem/Progressive Agenda… NO, NO, NO… Wake up – use your brain, if it isn’t too hazed – vote for Vermont, not the socialist agenda!!!

    • While i agree with you that children should not vote i see no evidence that Brattleboro Common Sense or it’s leader Kurt Daimes have anything to do with transgender stuff.

      It does not help the Conservative agenda for people to spout and spew obvious lies. The truth is enough. Kids are not mature enough to vote.

      • Where is the “obvious” lie here?
        My point is that it is an aspect of the overall agenda, including that of RTA. In these times of the internet, influences become arcane and complicated. Influences extend in complex and convoluted fashion.

  4. Who is going to break it to the kiddies? I don’t want to be in the room when that happens. We can, of course, do the Vermont thing and continue to vote on it passes

  5. I remember when Brattleboro was a nice town with beautiful stores, clean and well run. Then a virus of flatlanders invaded that beautiful town and said, “we will show you what a liberal/progressive town should look like. The sensible people left, the fine stores left and the crazies took over. This has happened through out our beautiful state and good sensible people left!! Just look at who is running our state, killing babies in and out of the womb and want to change our constitution to continue killing them!! God Help Us

    • The Diamondstone family is based in Brattleboro. Liberty Union Party, now called the Peace and Justice Party. Marina Brown is essentially in control. Brattleboro is a focal point for Antifa.

      • I guess that is why Jessica Diamondstone is the Chair of the party.

        https://sos.vermont.gov/elections/election-info-resources/parties

        Your obsession with me is tiresome. I’m not letting you back into my life. I will
        not do your computer tech work any more. Weaving tall tales will not help.

        You are 68 years old. Throwing a temper tantrum will get you nowhere. I like a
        myriad of your other former friends are tired of your immature and spiteful behavior.

      • The position of chair is meaningless. Marina Brown is aware of this. I was illegally put out of the Party. simply by not being emailed. In politics, titular people are often controlled by others. Stalin is a good example.
        Emails indicate the Party’s lack of concern, not only for legality, but the well being of common people.. Rioting and looting is acceptable, as long as it doesn’t happen to them.
        Marina Brown is well aware of this. In these times, control the internet access and you control the situation.

      • It is an old trick to label political opposition as personally motivated. I was close to Marina Brown and Laura Potter. Then Marina Brown ordered me not to engage in discussions questioning giving puberty blockers to children and destroying Women’s Sports. I refused. Brown became an opponent and manipulated me out of the Party. This brought the dispute into broader politics. My response is not a “tantrum”. It is an expose of an evil that is part of the totalitarian, indeed fascist, influences that are spreading in Vermont.

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