Early voting has begun in Vermont. There is the possibility to make great positive changes in this election. From historic firsts in our Congressional race, to two opportunities to amend our state constitution to support freedom, along with a myriad of political offices to be determined, there are important decisions to be made. As I go door-to-door, meeting voters in Westminster, Rockingham, and Brookline, where I am running for re-election as a state representative, I find that many people are not aware of what we are voting on in this year’s general election. As a former teacher of U.S. history and government, I am concerned about what people do not know, and am also concerned about misinformation.
We will be voting on two important constitutional amendments this fall. For our state constitution to be amended, two successive legislatures need to pass a proposal before it is listed on the November ballot to get final approval from voters. This year, the legislature gave second approval to two proposals. Prop 2 will remove archaic language which leaves ambiguity around slavery being permitted in our state. Prop 5, which is also called Article 22, will guarantee reproductive freedom to people in Vermont. If the voters approve these constitutional amendments, our Vermont Constitution will be amended. If voters pass Article 22, we will be the first U.S. state to amend our constitution to protect reproductive liberty.
Opponents of Article 22 have claimed that passing the Reproductive Freedom proposal is supporting late term abortions. This is false. By Vermont law, late term abortions are only possible in rare situations related to the health of the mother or severe health conditions in a fetus. Article 22 has no impact on policy for late term abortions, which are, again, extremely rare in Vermont.
Another important opportunity in this election is the chance to end Vermont’s status as the only state to never have had a woman represent us in Washington. Senator Becca Balint is a teacher, a mother, and a public servant who I know will serve Vermont honorably in Washington.
We have two open State Senate seats in Windham county and two highly qualified candidates running for those seats. Nader Hashim and Wendy Harrison are who I will cast my votes for as State Senators for the next two years.
During midterm elections, turnout is often lower than it is in presidential election years. There are many reasons it is important to go to the polls on or before Nov. 8, 2022 to cast your ballot. Becca Balint is one. Voting on the proposals to remove the language of slavery from our constitution and guarantee reproductive freedom are two more. Electing your local representatives, from the Justices of the Peace who will support democracy at the local level, to casting votes to determine who will represent you in the Vermont Statehouse and in Washington are others.
The Vermont legislature passed 240 bills in the last biennium. Governor Scott vetoed 15 of those, including a pensions bill for state employees, a bill protecting biodiversity, and other critical legislation. The legislature was able to override only some of the vetoes. Your votes will impact the future of Vermont: Our people, our land, our water, and our forest for more than the next two years. Choose wisely.
Wherever you live in our beautiful state, do your homework. Research the people running for office and cast your votes wisely to support candidates and proposals that match your values. The future of Vermont is at stake.
Representative from Westminster, Vt.