Honorable Mention:
David Parkinson, Grade 7: Long Trail School

David Parkinson and Secretary Markowitz

Changing the Vermont Constitution

Elections have been a part of the American system of democracy for centuries. Although it has changed over the years, the principal of the people having the right to vote has remained the same. I am supporting a change in the Vermont constitution to make sure that plurality vote decides the governor, lieutenant governor and the treasurer.

The first reason I support change is its accordance to the constitution. The constitution allows people to directly elect senators in Amendment 17, so why not governors? Plurality vote gives the candidate with the highest number of votes the office. I believe he or she deserves that position because more people voted for that candidate than any other.

The second reason for change is its feasibility. For instance, if a run-off election were to be held to determine the governor, less people might come out to vote. Voter turnout is already low in normal elections, so why would the same amount come to another run-off election? If the vote of the legislature remained in the Constitution, the party candidate from the majority would be picked and this might not necessarily represent the popular vote. This would take away from the voters chance to contribute to elections, and time and money to the political election process. A common reason for people not to vote is the thought that their vote counts for nothing and change will never come.

The third reason for change is the need to enact this measure. It is very common for a candidate not to receive the 50% vote. For example, the 2002 gubernatorial race in Vermont was 48% to 46%. One candidate conceded so the process of election by the Vermont Legislature was not necessary. If plurality vote was enacted, the candidate would quickly know if he or she had won. With the increase of parties such as Vermont Grassroots, Independent, Libertarian, Marijuana Reform and others, the vote has to be divided up between many more candidates. In New York State, plurality vote is used and elections have worked flawlessly for years.

In conclusion, there are many reasons to change Vermont from a vote of the Legislature to a plurality vote. Elections are key to America and government is supposed to reflect the will of the people. Let the people speak for their government, not the party in control.