This article by Bob Audette originally appeared June 28 in the Brattleboro Reformer.
BRATTLEBORO — Brattleboro is the only town in Vermont to utilize the Representative Town Meeting format for its annual town meeting, but each year the town struggles to fill the 138 seats available, usually coming up 15 or 20 people short.
One local teen, Rio Daims, thinks she has the solution, but she needs the adults to sign onto her initiative, literally.
“The Youth Vote Amendment will allow youth 16 and 17 to serve as representatives at Town Meeting and to vote on local issues,” said Daims.
The process requires an amendment added to the Town Charter, which needs to be approved by the state Legislature. To get the ball rolling though, Daims needs the signatures of 400 registered voters who agree the question should be on the town ballot in November.
The youth vote amendment has been on the ballot before, in 2015, but it garnered only 49 percent approval, said Daims, falling short of the majority needed to send it to the Legislature.
Daims, the youth vote coordinator for Brattleboro Common Sense, would also like 16- and 17-year-olds to be able to vote on school issues, but that will require petitions and approval in all five towns in the Windham Southeast Supervisory Union. She is looking for volunteers to take on collecting signatures in the towns of Vernon, Putney, Guilford and Dummerston.
Read full story at the Brattleboro Reformer.
(Fair use with written permission from the New England Newspapers Inc.)