Brattleboro, Vermont, Lets 16- And 17-Year-Olds Vote In Elections

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Ilan Hulkower Contributor
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A small town in Vermont numbering 7,500 souls has granted 16-and 17-year-olds the right to vote in local elections being held in March, The Associated Press (AP) reported Thursday.

The town of Brattleboro is also allowing 16-and-17-year-olds to run for local office and be picked as representatives to annual town meetings where local issues are often decided, according to The AP.

These teenagers, however, will not be allowed to serve on the local school board, which was in the original reforms approved by the town’s residents back in 2019, The AP reported.

These revisions to the town’s charter needed state legislative approval, which it finally obtained in 2023. This approval only came after the Democratic-controlled legislature managed to muster enough votes to override Republican Gov. Phil Scott’s veto, Vermont Public reported.

“I’m not too young or too naïve to know what’s happening and to know what I want to be happening,” 17-year-old Silas Brubaker said, The AP reported. “And when those things conflict, it feels very unfair and wrong for me not to be able to do anything in an official sense. Like I can go to protests, I can speak my mind, but I can’t do anything in a legal sense, and now I can, so that’s exciting,” the teenager added.

The town clerk’s office says at least 37 teenagers have registered to vote so far, the outlet reported.

Back in January, the number of youth voters who registered was just five. “That’s it so far, and I think it’s really going to come down to peers, teachers and parents encouraging those youth voters to come and register to vote,” Brattleboro Town Clerk Hilary Francis told the Vermont Public in January.

“This is the future and these are the people who are going to be voting in our elections and are going to be running in our elections as well,” Eva Gould, a high school senior, said, The AP reported. “They know a lot more than a lot of people do, honestly,” she added.