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VT Constitutional Amendment: Is a "Quiet and Peaceable" Teenager an Oxymoron? 

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Earlier this week, Vermonters gave an overwhelming thumbs-up to an amendment to the Vermont Constitution that will allow 17 year olds who turn 18 by the date of the general election to vote in the primary election.

Windham County Senator Jeanette White, who introduced the bill that put the measure on the November 2 ballot, explained last month on Vermont Public Radio that her goal was to boost youth voter participation.

“I believe that a person’s first experience with voting is the one that captures them as a voter," White told "Vermont Edition" host Jane Lindholm. "If we can capture them and make them a voter for life, and not just a voter when issues pique their interest but make them an engaged voter, then we’ve done a service to the democracy.”

But this amendment, which doesn't takes effect until 2012, may cover only a very small percentage of teens. Voters who actually read Proposition 5 may have noticed that it only applies to U.S. citizens who have lived in Vermont for a specified period of time and who are "of a quiet and peaceable behavior..."

What, exactly, constitutes a "quiet and peaceable" 17-year-old?

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About The Author

Ken Picard

Ken Picard

Ken Picard has been a Seven Days staff writer since 2002. He has won numerous awards for his work, including the Vermont Press Association's 2005 Mavis Doyle award, a general excellence prize for reporters.

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