Brattleboro, Vermont, Allows 16- and 17-Year-Olds to Vote in Elections

Credits: KXAN

In a move that reflects a growing trend across the United States, Brattleboro, Vermont, with a population of about 7,500, has granted 16- and 17-year-olds the right to vote in local elections.

This decision allows these teenagers to vote, run for local office, and participate in annual town meetings where local issues are discussed and decided upon.

The initiative to lower the voting age in Brattleboro began in 2019 when the town’s residents approved revisions to the town’s charter.

These revisions required state legislative approval, which was finally obtained in 2023 after the Democratic-controlled legislature overruled Republican Governor Phil Scott’s veto.

Vermont town allows teens to vote (Credits: ABC News)

The decision to grant 16- and 17-year-olds the right to vote has been met with enthusiasm from local teenagers. Seventeen-year-old Silas Brubaker expressed his excitement, stating,

“I’m not too young or too naïve to know what’s happening and to know what I want to be happening… I can go to protests and speak my mind, but I can’t do anything legally, and now I can, so that’s exciting.”

Since the decision was implemented, at least 37 teenagers have registered to vote in Brattleboro. This number is expected to increase as peers, teachers, and parents continue encouraging youth participation in local elections.

However, it’s worth noting that while 16- and 17-year-olds in Brattleboro can now vote in local elections, they are not allowed to serve on the local school board, which was part of the original reforms approved by the town’s residents in 2019.

Nevertheless, this change represents a significant step towards engaging young people in the democratic process and empowering them to have a voice in their local community.

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