Voting for Brattleboro 16-year-olds goes to House vote

by Guy Page

The Vermont House of Representatives is poised to give initial approval to Brattleboro teens age 16 and older the right to vote in local elections. 

The Government Operations Committee voted 8-3-1 Friday to advance H386 to the House floor. The bill would “approveĀ amendments to the charter of the Town of Brattleboro to allow youth voters to vote in certain Town elections.” It appears on the agenda for the 10 AM Tuesday session of the House.

The bill was introduced Feb. 28 by Reps. Emilie Kornheiser, Mollie Burke, and Tristan Toleno of Brattleboro. The only three non-legislators to testify in Gov Ops hearings were a current student and former Brattleboro high school student and a Brattleboro selectboard member. 

Brattleboro voters approved the amendment at Town Meeting 2019. A similar bill was introduced in a recent biennium but did not pass.

A Supreme Court decision has approved non-citizen voting in local elections but has yet to rule on under-18 local voting.

Categories: Elections, Legislation

13 replies »

  1. I know when I am poised to make an important decision of any kind, I consult as many 16-year-old children as possible before making the leap – I’m sure the legislators shall see the wisdom in doing so as well.

  2. Brattleboro should let them buy liquor, wine and beer, buy guns too.

    • Don’t forget allowing 16 year olds to buy drugs, engage in prostitution, enter into legal contracts and join the military…

  3. If 16 year olds are old enough to vote, they are old enough to understand the difference between right, and wrong, and the consequences of violating the social conventions conveyed upon adult citizens. These would include penalties incurred for not accepting, or breaking these conventions. Given this, do most voting age adults really believe that their prodigy, and their not yet fully realized mental capacity, are ready for these consequences ? It has been my observation that of late even a lot of “adults” do not understand that for each action there is an opposite and sometimes equal reaction to violating these conventions, so what should we expect from their prodigy ?

  4. The three previous comments have hit the nail on the head 100 percent!
    At that age even we were not understanding the entire picture. If the Legislature wastes time on this bill they are not very intelligent!!!!

  5. It should be a requirement for legislation to have a “Problem Statement” which defines exactly what is attempting to be fixed by said legislation. I agree with @Patrick Finnie that choices need to be associated with consequence.

  6. It seems this legislator is all about tearing down the strengths, common sense, freedoms and rights of true citizens.

  7. They can vote in school like most kids did in the 70’s. Then compare results. If they don’t pay taxes they should not be allowed to vote how to spend the money.

  8. Probably to much to ask for but I hope that parents of voting children would discuss the impact, financial and otherwise, on their family. Kids have no financial skin in the game and are easily influenced by teachers and their peers.

  9. VT school kids are at the bottom for education in the U.S. Now you want them to vote????? Where is the intelligence in this???

  10. Basically allowing the same 16 year olds to vote that have been indoctrinated through a psycho-social engineering tool called Transformative Social Emotional Learning. The tool being used to interject a new morality and the biological foundation for Socialism into our children via the NEA, NEAF and NGOs, like United Nations, WEF and UNESCO. SEL is grounded on Paolo Freire’s generative themes in education relative to social emotional intelligence and then uses social emotional education to instill the right political understanding in young people. Paulo Freire in his book “The Politics of Education” and “Pedigogy of the Oppressed” discusses making children conscious of their role as change agents to change the world. Education is now a means of transforming students into Marxist change agents. Once this democratic starts voting, you can kiss this country goodbye.

  11. Why lower the voting age one might ask ? If we add all 16 & 17 year olds to the mix (a guarantee of mostly all indoctrination into the belief socialism is good, and capitalism is bad) they would a a great new wave of D and P voting. Local voting on school bond issues that effect property tax, of which they don’t pay one dime. Yet with the new found responsibility (if passed), they elect their class president in on popularity, not for skill for that office.
    It comes down to this:. How to fix an election and make it legal? Increase the D and P voters.