Legislature won't vote on 'youth vote' proposal

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Reformer staff

MONTPELIER — Vermont lawmakers won't be voting this year on a Brattleboro proposal that would have allowed people aged 16 and 17 to vote in local elections or serve on school boards.

Bradford Rep. Sarah Copeland-Hanzas, the Democrat who chairs the House Committee on Government Operations, says members of the committee feel they should take more testimony on the Brattleboro "youth vote"proposal.

The proposal passed 908-408 at Brattleboro Town Meeting Day in March, but requires a vote by the state legislature to amend the town charter. The proposal would allow anyone 16 or older to serve as a Town Meeting member or as a member of the Brattleboro Town School Board and Brattleboro Union High School #6 Board, and to vote on local issues. The two school boards will be merged into the new Windham Southeast School District as mandated by the state to be operational by July 1.

The "youth vote" initiative came from Brattleboro Common Sense, a group focused on election reform and other progressive issues.

Lawmakers also say they won't be voting this year on a proposal that would have allowed non-citizens in Montpelier to vote in municipal elections.

Grand Isle Sen. Dick Mazza, a Democrat, said the Senate doesn't have time to fully vet the Montpelier proposal.

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