In 2016, Republican David Ainsworth unseated incumbent Democrat State Representative Sarah Buxton by one vote in central Vermont — six years after Buxton had unseated Ainsworth.
In that same year, Vermont State Senator Bill Doyle — the longest serving Senator in Vermont history — lost by a fraction of a percent. And Francis Brooks, the person who defeated Doyle, had won the Democratic primary three months earlier by just one vote.
Two other Vermont House freshmen lost by less than one percent in that same election year.
Put simply: Vermont’s local races — for Governor, Lt. Governor, State Senate and State House — are close. Really, really close. In this state, your voice really does make a difference.
In my time in Vermont politics, I’ve seen longtime members tossed out by the slimmest of losses, recounts make and break political careers and multiple races come down to one single vote.
This year, we’re shaping up to have another set of what will likely be incredibly close races for local office. In fact, Addison County is expected to have one of the most competitive and interesting state Senate races in the entire state — with two Democrats, two Independents, a Republican and a Libertarian, all vying for two seats — one of which is being vacated by a retiring incumbent. We could have yet another recount on our hands.
Here in Vermont, your vote truly is your voice. And because of our small population, your voice is quite loud — loud enough to unseat incumbents or keep them in office.
So if you’re not registered, register. And if you’re not paying attention to what’s going on in our state and local races, now’s the time. Because your vote may very well be the deciding factor in an election.
My recommendation: start reading the local news, visit candidate websites and stay informed. And note that politics in Vermont is not like politics in Washington. You’ll find many pro-choice and pro-gun reform Republicans, and many socially conservative Democrats. So pay careful attention.
But most importantly, get out there and vote.
Editor’s Note: Hayden Dublois ’17, of Montpelier, is an Executive Assistant in the Office of Governor Phil Scott. He previously worked on numerous state and local campaigns throughout Vermont.