Vermont Votes for Kids: A project of the Vermont Secretary of State

Curriculum Grades 9-12, Student Handout for Lesson 5:
An Informed and Timely Vote


The call to citizens to fully utilize their voting rights and responsibilities is clearly evident in the following:

"Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty."
(Wendell Phillips 1811-1884)

"The only title in our democracy superior to that of President is the title of citizen."
(Justice Louis Brandeis, 1937)

The struggles of our predecessors have both bestowed and preserved the right of every qualified citizen to register and to vote. Such an endowment of democracy summons us to reply with an effort to be informed about the election process, the candidates and the issues that await us on election day.

This activity will:

  1. Acquaint you, a future voter, with some information and resources available to be an informed voter.
  2. Give you some tips on sorting objective sources from more biased ones as you seek to be informed.
  3. Introduce you to the significant dates and deadlines of the voting/election process.

Let's follow the electronic road to some essential information for when the "most important" election rolls around, the one when you vote for the first time. You will be asked some questions along the way to assist you in your search. The answers may be at the end of this activity for your comparison; if they are, fold them under until you've completed the search.

The basic framework of Vermont's government is contained in the Constitution of the State of Vermont. You can find a copy online at

You may find the answers to these elections-related questions in the Vermont Constitution.


  1. How long must you live in Vermont and in your District, before you can run for the office of District Representative?
  2. How long must you live in Vermont before you can run for the office of Governor or Lieutenant Governor?
  3. What if the Governor dies while in office, or is removed from office, or fails to receive a majority of votes? How is a new Governor chosen?
  4. Some judges are appointed by the Governor, and others are elected by the voters. Which judges are elected?
  5. How often do elections occur for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, State Representatives and State Senators?
  6. What is the term of office of an Assistant Judge?
For the next set of questions, you may find the resources you need at the Vermont Elections web site at Look in the panel at the far right of the page.


  1. What are the names of our state's two U.S. Senators?
  2. Where are their offices?
  3. Who is our Representative to the U.S. Congress? What is his email address?
  4. What is the name of the Vermont Secretary of State?
  5. Name two Justices of the State Supreme Court.

Suppose you were running as an indpendent or minor party candidate for the office of District Representative to the Vermont General Assembly. Answer the following questions, based on what you can find at


  1. What do you need to do to get your name on the ballot?
  2. What is the deadline for filing your petition with the Secretary of State?
Want to know who your state Representative and state Senator are? Go to and find the name of your district.


  1. What is the name of your Representative district?
  2. Who is your Representative?
  3. Who is your state Senator?
  4. From the biographical information provided on your Distrct Representative, compare him or her to yourself.


    1. Two years in vermont, the last of which shall be in the District
    2. Four years
    3. These matters are decided by the General Assembly
    4. Assistant Judges, Judges of Probate
    5. Every two years
    6. Four years
    7. Patrick Leahy and James Jeffords
    8. Offices in Vermont and in Washington. D.C.
    9. Bernard Sanders, bernie@nullmail.honulluse.govnull
    10. Deborah Markowitz
    11. Justices include John A. Dooley III, Denise Johnson, Paul L. Reiber, Marilyn S. Skoglund.
    12. File a Consent Form and completed Petition to the Secretary of State
    13. September 17, 2004
    14. Depends on district
    15. Depends on district
    16. Depends on district
    17. Depends on district


Vermont Secretary of State Deb Markowitz: