Vermont has 30 State Senators and 150 State Representatives and all of them are subject to this year’s elections. The overall status of these upcoming elections is discussed below, beginning with the Vermont Senate.
Vermont’s State Senate
It looks like 26 incumbents are running for re-election to the Senate. Four existing Senators appear to have retired or otherwise stepped aside, leaving four seats completely open.
Unfortunately, there appear to be six uncontested seats, representing 20% of the entire Vermont Senate. All of these uncontested seats sit within four districts. Presumably, the voters in these districts are happy with their incumbent Senators. However, a bit more competition for the hearts and minds of voters would be welcome.
In total there are 59 individuals running for Vermont’s 30 Senate Seats. In addition to the 26 incumbents, there are 15 Republican challengers, 11 Democratic challengers and 7 Independents/Other.
The Statehouse race is very similar to the Senate race. It looks like 117 incumbents are running for re-election, leaving 33 seats completely open for new people.
There appear to be 70 uncontested seats in 56 districts, representing just over 45% of total House seats. It is disappointing that a) so few people are seeking office, and b) Vermont voters have such limited choices.
All in all, there are 218 candidates running for Vermont’s 150 House seats. Other than the 117 incumbents, there are 57 Democratic Party challengers, 37 Republican Party challengers and 7 Independents/Other.
Vermont has a clear pattern of voter turnout: Presidential election years have high voter turnout and mid-term elections have low voter turnout.
According to the Vermont Secretary of State, there were 471,619 registered voters in 2016 out of a population of 505,921 voting age citizens. Recent voter turnout ratios have been as follows:
Vermont Voter Turnout: Presidential Election Years
|Year||Voter Turnout Ratio|
Source: Vermont Secretary of State’s Office
Vermont Voter Turnout: Mid-Term Election Years
|Year||Voter Turnout Ratio|
Source: Vermont’s Secretary of State’s Office
The entire USA has the same pattern of voter turnout as illustrated above. However, Vermont actually has materially higher turnout than the country as a whole. In the last three Presidential elections, USA voter turnout was always below 60%. In the three mid-term election years outlined above, staring with 2006, USA voter turnout was only 41.3%, 41.8% and 36.7%, respectively.
In the last three articles, The Informed Vermonter has reviewed the upcoming elections in Vermont, including the US Senate and House seats, the Vermont Executive Branch offices and the General Assembly. A few closing observations are provided below.
Vermont Has Too Many Uncontested Candidates: Both Bernie Sanders and Peter Welch have no real competition for their seats in Washington. As reported above, there are a large number of uncontested Vermont Senate and Statehouse seats. Major changes in outcomes in these legislative elections seem unlikely.
It’s All About the Governor: The election for the Governor’s office is hotly contested with four Democrats competing for the nomination and one Republican challenger to Phil Scott. This is a very important election for Vermont.
Your Vote Matters: History suggests that voter turnout will be low in the 2018 mid-term elections. With low turnout, every vote matters more.