The following statement is by House Minority Leader Pattie McCoy, R-Poultney, on behalf of the Vermont House Republicans following the House’s override Friday of Gov. Phil Scott’s veto of a Brattleboro charter change that lets 16-year-olds vote and hold office in town.
“Vermont Democrat lawmakers have sent a series of mixed signals when it comes to their trust in young Vermonters. As it pertains to certain local elections, Democrats want 16-year-olds to be able to vote. But, according to the framework Democrats have structured, those same 16-year-olds would have to wait two years before they could play the lottery or join the military; 6 years before they could purchase alcohol or tobacco; and 7 years before they could be considered an adult for criminal proceedings. There is no consistency. Rather, there exists a patchwork of unclear and confusing contradictions.
“In fact, when Vermont Democrats recently worked to raise the age of ‘youthful offenders’ through age 22, they cited research indicating that these younger individuals take more risks, are more prone to peer pressure, and are less future oriented. Apparently, Vermont Democrats only feel young voters are mature enough to make informed decisions when it might be politically expedient.
“Governor Scott’s veto of this legislation that House Democrats have now rejected was simple and sensible: the Legislature should be consistent on the age of adulthood. This should apply not only for different types of activities, but for all elections as well. Opening the door to early voting in certain elections in specific municipalities only worsens the Legislature’s ‘cafeteria’ approach to the concept of adulthood, where Democrats pick and choose when the age of majority is reached.
“Vermont House Republicans are disappointed in the House’s decision to override Governor Scott’s veto of H.361, and hope the Senate will give the issue more deliberate consideration.”