Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos this week encouraged Vermonters to register to vote for National Voter Registration Day (NVRD) on September 20th. NVRD is a nonpartisan civic holiday celebrating democracy, held annually in September.
“When you register to vote and cast your ballot, you are strengthening our democracy just by participating,” Condos said. “National Voter Registration Day is an opportunity for us to try and further reach those eligible Vermonters who are not yet registered.”
“No matter how you vote, or how you cast your ballot, we want you to register and vote. We’ve made it easy: you can register online at https://olvr.vermont.gov, automatically at the Department of Motor Vehicles, or by registering directly with your Town or City Clerk.
“The November 8 General Election will be here before you know it. Vermont does have same-day voter registration, so if you forget to register before Election Day, you can still show up at the polls, register, and vote, but why wait and risk any complications? Register today, or for NVRD, and save yourself the hassle. Plus, once registered you have a number of early voting options you can consider,” Condos said.
Other states backing off from joining California 2035 ban
by Guy Page
Many adults share a recurring nightmare that they are back in school, the final exam is upon them, and they haven’t even attended the class all year long. They are going to fail! The eight members of the Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules (LCAR) may be living that nightmare over a major rule change in Vermont that would begin restricting the sale of new internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles in 2026 leading up to an outright ban on such sales after 2035.
California passed emissions standards for vehicles sold in that state that will ultimately ban the sale of new gas/diesel powered cars and light trucks by 2035. Other states are required to choose to follow either California’s emissions standards or the federal governments, which are less restrictive. Since 2005, when the California waver was first established, sixteen states have traditionally followed California’s lead, and Vermont is one of them. Vermont now must decide whether or not to stay on the California path to banning ICE vehicles or get back to operating under federal standards, which do not ban ICE vehicles.
LCAR will be voting YES or NO before December 1st. But until Vermont Daily Chronicle contacted the LCAR members and asked them what they were thinking in regard to Vermont and the California car ban, almost none of them appeared to know the issue was even going to come before them, or that they had to be prepared to make a decision.
Senator Chris Bray (D-Addison), who in addition to being a member of LCAR is chair of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee, which is a committee of jurisdiction over this issue, responded to VDC’s inquiry, “Such a rule, or even draft rule, is news to me.”
Senator Mark MacDonald (D-Orange), who chairs the LCAR committee, stated, “I’m glad we have over 4470 days until implementation of CA’s newly announced standards. Vermonters will be sifting through it for some time.”
But MacDonald’s arithmetic is wrong by a factor of sixty.
A memo from Athena Dexter-Cooper, the legal counsel for the LCAR committee, is clear, “In terms of timing… the Climate Action Plan [created by the Climate Council formed under the Global Warming Solutions Act] directs ANR [the Agency of Natural Resources] to adopt this suite of rules, with Advanced Clean Cars II being adopted not later than December 1, 2022.” That’s not 4470 days away, it’s less than seventy five. And LCAR needs to let ANR know what their recommendation is before then.
Other states in the same boat as Vermont, those that have traditionally followed California, are aware of what is going on and are taking action to disassociate from the ban.
According to Governing.com, Gov. Janet Mills of Maine says, “she doesn’t support a California-style mandate to phase out all new gasoline-only vehicles by 2035.” And even the Sierra Club of Maine agrees the proposal is just too radical for a small, rural population. “’At this point in Maine, a mandate probably doesn’t make much sense,’ said Anna Wright, the legislative and political strategist at Sierra Club Maine.”
Another such state is Colorado. The Colorado Sun reports, “Colorado regulators, who adopted California’s older rules, won’t follow California’s new ones, the administration of Democratic Gov. Jared Polis said.” The article also reports that other states, including Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Minnesota are balking at the policy as too radical and impractical. Time will tell what the rest decided.
“We obviously have a choice to make here,” said Rob Roper of the Ethan Allen Institute board of directors, who has been following this issue closely, “but the Climate Council and the Agency of Natural Resources under the Scott Administration are behaving as if following California over the cliff is a done deal. This despite the fact that a landslide majority of Vermonters do not approve of this policy.”
Roper was referring to a poll done by The UVM Center for Rural Studies earlier this summer that showed 65% of Vermonters do not approve of banning the sale of internal combustion engine vehicles for the purposes of reducing carbon emissions. Only 15% approved of the policy and 20% were unsure.
“That our elected representatives are apparently clueless as to what’s going on here and what their role is in protecting the interests and desires of their constituents is pathetic. I wish I could say shocking,” said Roper.
ANR and the Climate Council are conducting a series of public meetings on the California vehicle ban but are not presenting the policy as an option to the public. The meetings are simply informing those who show up that the rule will be adopted by Vermont, so get ready, and what the potential impacts might be.
The one LCAR member who responded with clear understanding of the issue and who had thought through the implications was Senator Joe Benning (R-Caledonia), who is also a candidate for Lieutenant Governor. “The [electric] infrastructure [in Vermont] does not currently have the ability to accommodate expected purchases and won’t likely have it for some time. That’s one of the reasons why I have consistently voted against this legislation from the beginning. I tell Vermonters who can’t afford EV’s or can’t use them that they need to get to the polls in November and vote Republican. I’m pretty sure I’ve been on record as saying that for the past 12 years or so.
“I voted against the original GWSA, have consistently argued against it whenever the argument comes up, and will do what I can on LCAR to point out that this will produce an undue and very expensive burden on Vermonters,” said Benning.
Buyers’ Remorse. A lot of people who voted for our president are experiencing it now. Name an issue and this administration is dropping the ball: Inflation, border security, energy policy, education priorities, Afghan extraction, on and on it goes. These are national issues impacting Vermont citizens at the gas pump, the grocery store, the schoolhouse, and our workplaces. The majority party in DC wants to Federalize elections, pack the Supreme Court, and provide amnesty for millions of immigrants. While most are fine people, they came here illegally.
In Vermont, our politicians are more rational than DC politicians, right? Well, not so fast. In this past session we had a run-a-way legislature. Where did legislative leaders in Montpelier get these ideas? “Mystery” taxation on energy, Clean Heat Standard’s unelected board transforming Vermont’s home heating industry, a proposed registry of home repair specialists, an attempt at registration of all rented housing, decriminalizing prostitution (Burlington), a charter change (Brattleboro) allowing 16- & 17-year old’s to vote and hold office.
One of the more egregious outcomes from this last session was passing Proposition 5 (Article 22) to amend Article 1 of the VT Constitution for the first time since 1876. It is unnecessary, vague and dangerous.
Article 22 doesn’t mention women, or any age limit. Could it actually lead to more third trimester abortions? Or lead to a healthcare worker shortage as workers leave Vermont or the healthcare field due to the elimination of conscience exceptions? Or could it lead to parents and family being excluded from life changing adult decisions being made by children under the influence of non-family? It would stop future legislatures from correcting these serious flaws. I will vote No on Article 22 and hope other voters will join me in doing so.
If Vermont voters are dissatisfied with our country’s direction and our state legislature’s actions, there is an alternative: change the party balance in Montpelier and elevate more Republicans to statewide office.
I am running for Auditor of Accounts. Yawn? Boring?
Consider this: What the IRS is to ordinary US citizens and businesses, the Auditor of Accounts is to government at all levels and jurisdictions. The Auditor leads staff in reviewing and reporting on governmental efficiency and honesty, potentially including such things as election integrity from the Secretary of State’s office to various election practices in towns across Vermont. I will work to see that Vermont is fiscally responsible, efficient, and using best practices.
With a strong background in bank compliance and the heart of an ordained chaplain at a southern Vermont assisted living facility, I have an “outside the echo chamber” point of view. Not sure? Call 802-257-2780, email [email protected], Web site: morton4vtsenate.com.
The author is a Brattleboro resident, Republican candidate for Vermont Senate, and Republican candidate for Auditor of Accounts.
Courtesy True North Reports
This commentary is by Gerald Malloy, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate.
However, when constituents try to reach Senators Leahy and Sanders, or even Representative Welch, most of the time they never get the opportunity to talk to them directly. What happens too often is that their telephone calls, emails, and any other attempt for an in-person meeting or communication are vetted by a third party such as their staff members and handlers.
This is why these officials, in large measures, are out-of-touch with the people, and one of the reasons why the federal government is a huge turnoff for many Vermont constituents who try to navigate it.
When officials lose sight and knowledge of their own people, well, they forget that they’re supposed to be working for the people. It is their job to engage with and materialize the true interests and will of their Vermont residents, and stay connected. As a Vermont parent with three children in Vermont schools, I am not disconnected from the challenges Vermonters currently face.
I pledge that when I am elected U.S. senator, there will be full accountability and transparency. My first and foremost priority will be personally meeting and communicating with Vermonters who have any specific requests or issues. Additionally, when I am in one of my offices, I will work hard to make sure that my door is always open so any Vermonter will be able to see firsthand what is going on and what changes are being made (instead of a traditional closed-door, off-limits, prohibitive syndrome).
Furthermore, the names of all my staff members, together with their photos, titles, e-mails and phone numbers, will be readily and easily available. At the present time, this is not the case for many of these people working in the offices of Leahy, Sanders, and Welch, as they are often difficult to identify.
I also pledge that if there is a meeting request made by an industry or special interest group, it will have to originate through a Vermont resident, not some random entity with no regard for the state or the people’s interest.
My goal will be to make personal visits at least once a year to every county in the State of Vermont — not just to present speeches like Leahy, Sanders, and Welch, but also to listen and learn about the needs and concerns of Vermonters.
I also promise to operate an office in the southern part of Vermont (in addition to one in the north). It is unfair to expect a Vermonter to have to travel several hours for a meeting with their U.S. senator.
I am a Vermont citizen and I understand the frustration and disappointment of so many Vermonters who have tried to reach out to Leahy, Sanders, or Welch about an issue, concern, or general desire, only to be discouraged by an indifferent response, or worst case, even no response at all. My priority as your U.S. senator will be to correct and improve upon this process of communication, to be fully accessible in serving all Vermonters.Image courtesy of Gerald Malloy for U.S. Senate
I received this email concerning the federal extension of health insurance premium tax credits. It may help some of you with your insurance costs;
As you may already know, the Inflation Reduction Act, passed by Congress last month, included an extension of subsidies for health insurance premiums for eligible Vermonters through 2025. We are trying to get the word out about these premium tax credits which are currently helping over 23,000 Vermonters and have the potential to help more (even for the remainder of 2022).
The GMCB has a summary page on our website that links to key resources from Vermont Health Connect and the Health Care Advocate: https://gmcboard.vermont.gov/tax-credits. The most important takeaway is that Vermonters who buy their own individual or family health insurance plans need to sign up through Vermont Health Connect (not directly through BCBSVT or MVP) to be eligible for the tax credits. We are encouraging anyone who buys their own health insurance to check out the Vermont Health Connect Plan Comparison Tool to see if they qualify. The summary page on our website has further details and frequently asked questions.
If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out. I hope you will help us spread the news about this important financial help for Vermonters!
Susan J. Barrett, J.D. (she/her)
Green Mountain Care Board"
The 2022 Digger Debate Series continues in-person and virtually with the U.S. Senate debate in Manchester sponsored by the Necrason Group.
About this event
Join us at the Southern Vermont Arts Center in Manchester on September 8 at 6 p.m. as candidates vie for Senator Leahy's seat in the U.S. Senate. The debate will also be livestreamed on the VTDigger website.
The debate will feature Republican nominee Gerald Malloy, a businessman and veteran of the U.S. Army, and Democrat Peter Welch, a member of the U.S. House. The two are competing for the seat being vacated by retiring U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.
Register now for in-person tickets (only 250 seats available) or to receive the link to the livestream. The doors (and cash bar)will open at 5:30 p.m.
Closed captioning is available on the livestream. If you need accommodations, please contact Kate at [email protected].
In accordance with federal guidelines, masks will be required if local Covid-19 levels are rated "high" by the CDC at the time of the event.
As Vermont edges toward a legal recreational cannabis market, everyone paying a power bill is indirectly subsidizing the indoor cultivation of marijuana. Efficiency Vermont, established by lawmakers in 1999 and funded through charges on residential and commercial power bills, is working to blunt the power demand of the energy-intensive cannabis businesses taking root.
There is quite a list of Candidates on the ballot. Statewide offices have the following slates:
Name On Ballot Town Of Residence Party District US SENATOR MARK COESTER WESTMINSTER INDEPENDENT NATASHA DIAMONDSTONE-KOHOUT DUMMERSTON GREEN MOUNTAIN STEPHEN DUKE CALAIS INDEPENDENT DAWN MARIE ELLIS BURLINGTON INDEPENDENT MS. CRIS ERICSON CHESTER INDEPENDENT GERALD MALLOY WEATHERSFIELD REPUBLICAN KERRY PATRICK RAHEB BENNINGTON INDEPENDENT PETER WELCH NORWICH DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS BECCA BALINT BRATTLEBORO DEMOCRATIC MATT DRUZBA BURLINGTON INDEPENDENT LIAM MADDEN ROCKINGHAM REPUBLICAN ADAM ORTIZ RUTLAND CITY INDEPENDENT ERICKA REDIC BURLINGTON LIBERTARIAN LUKE TALBOT BRIGHTON INDEPENDENT GOVERNOR PETER DUVAL UNDERHILL INDEPENDENT KEVIN HOYT BENNINGTON INDEPENDENT BERNARD PETERS IRASBURG INDEPENDENT PHIL SCOTT BERLIN REPUBLICAN BRENDA SIEGEL NEWFANE DEM/PROG LT. GOVERNOR JOE BENNING LYNDON REPUBLICAN IAN G. DIAMONDSTONE PUTNEY GREEN MOUNTAIN DAVID ZUCKERMAN HINESBURG PROG/DEM TREASURER H. BROOKE PAIGE WASHINGTON REPUBLICAN MIKE PIECIAK WINOOSKI DEMOCRATIC SECRETARY OF STATE SARAH COPELAND HANZAS BRADFORD DEMOCRATIC H. BROOKE PAIGE WASHINGTON REPUBLICAN AUDITOR OF ACCOUNTS DOUG HOFFER BURLINGTON DEM/PROG RICHARD “RICK” MORTON BRATTLEBORO REPUBLICAN ATTORNEY GENERAL CHARITY R. CLARK WILLISTON DEMOCRATIC MICHAEL TAGLIAVIA CORINTH REPUBLICAN
By Fred Lucas | The Daily Signal
Hawaii may be paradise for vacation spots, but the Aloha State comes in last place in a ranking of all 50 states based on the strength of their election laws.
Going into the midterm elections Nov. 8, the nominal battleground state of Nevada comes in second to last in laws promoting clean and honest elections, while California—the largest state in the nation—is third from the bottom, according to The Heritage Foundation Election Integrity Scorecard. (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s multimedia news organization.)
Heritage’s scorecard ranks the states and the District of Columbia based on factors such as voter ID implementation; accuracy of vote registration lists; absentee ballot management; restrictions on ballot trafficking, also known as ballot harvesting; access for election observers; vote-counting practices; and restrictions on private funding for election administration.
The District of Columbia came in at No. 25.
Nebraska scored 0 out of 20 in the category of voter ID, but scored well in other categories, Nebraska Secretary of State Robert Evnen, a Republican, said.
“If Nebraska had voter ID, we’d be in the top 15,” Evnen told The Daily Signal. “There is a voter ID initiative petition that would put it on the ballot in November. If it goes on the ballot, we believe that it would be overwhelmingly adopted.”
Nebraska has an overall score of 47 out of 100. It scored well, 19 out of 30 points, on accuracy of voter registration lists, and 14 out of 21 on absentee ballot management. But the state also scored 0 out of 4 points on ballot-trafficking restrictions and 0 out of 4 on citizenship verification.
Nebraskans will cast ballots for governor, among other offices, in November.
“I have several other legislative initiatives, for example, restricting drop boxes and making ballot harvesting a felony, some of which passed, and others didn’t,” Evnen said. “If my initiatives had all passed, Nebraska would be about No. 10 in the rankings.”
The Daily Signal sought comment from the offices of chief state election officials or state election boards for each state in the bottom 10 of Heritage’s Election Integrity Scorecard. Only Evnen responded by publication time.
The top four states in the Election Integrity Scorecard—Tennessee, followed by Georgia, Alabama, and Missouri—all have overall scores of 80 or higher. The remaining states in the top 10—South Carolina, then Arkansas, Florida, Texas, and, in a tie, Louisiana and Wisconsin—scored 75 or higher.
Coming in dead last, Hawaii’s overall score was 26 out of 100 points. The state, which has a gubernatorial election this year, scored 0 in most categories. Its highest score was 13 out of 30 for the accuracy of voting lists.
Nevada, where voters in November will decide races for governor and U.S. Senate among other offices, has an overall score of 28 out of 100. Its highest score was 16 out of 30 points on accuracy of voter registration lists. The state scored 2 out of 20 on voter ID.
California, where statewide races on the ballot also include governor and U.S. Senate, has an overall score of 30 out of 100. The state scored 0 in most categories but got 19 points for accuracy of voter registration lists.
Oregon, also with races for governor and U.S. Senate, rolled up an overall score of 38 out of 100. Notably for a state with all-mail voting, it scored 7 out of 21 points for absentee ballot management and 0 for restrictions on ballot trafficking. Oregon scored relatively well for accuracy of voter registration lists, access for election observers, and restrictions on same-day voter registration.
Vermont scored 39 overall, with the highest score, 22, for accuracy of voter registration lists. Vermont voters also will cast ballots in races for governor and U.S. Senate.
Washington, another all-mail voting state, scores just 4 points out of 21 for absentee ballot management and zero for ballot-trafficking restrictions—areas that most affect mail-in voting. Washington, where voters will decide a U.S. Senate race, had an overall score of 42.
New Jersey, where voters will decide U.S. House and local races, had an overall score of 42. Its highest scores were 16 points for accuracy of voter registration lists and 10 out of 21 for absentee ballot management.
Massachusetts, with a race for governor among other offices, scored 45 overall. The state scored well, with the maximum 4 points, on ballot trafficking restrictions. Its highest score was 17 for accuracy of voter registration lists.
New York scored 46 overall on the Election Integrity Scorecard in a year with a gubernatorial and a U.S. Senate race on the ballot. The state’s best scores were 20 out of 30 points for accuracy of voter registration lists and 11 out of 21 for absentee ballot management.
“Some states have improved, but some of the worst states have gotten worse,” Hans von Spakovsky, senior legal fellow for The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal. “Too many states aren’t willing to have basic voter ID laws in place, and some are making matters worse with automatic voter registration and same-day voter registration.”
Residents of these states should speak up, said von Spakovsky, who manages Heritage’s Election Law Reform Initiative.
“I would tell folks in these states [to] show up at meetings of the county election boards, volunteer to be a poll worker,” he said. “Getting involved at the grassroots level can prompt improvement.”Images courtesy of TNR and Public domain