When the Constitution of the United States was ratified 225 years ago, only white men who owned land were allowed to vote. By the time of the Civil War, the property requirement was largely eliminated. In 1870 discrimination by race was prohibited by the 14th Amendment, and in 1920 women were given the right to vote with the 19th Amendment. Further amendments eliminated poll taxes and extended the right to vote to 18 year olds.

 The right to vote is a sacred right that generations have died to protect, and only in the last four years have some states begun to restrict voting by curtailing access and requiring specific forms of ID not easily available to all citizens. Fortunately, here in Vermont we have not taken steps to restrict access because we strongly believe in this fundamental right of all of our eligible citizens. However, because this is not a presidential election year, turnout is expected to be low for this election.

 So, I want to encourage everyone to exercise your right to vote this Tuesday. Whom you vote for is your choice, but don't throw away this precious privilege.

 Your Vote is Your Voice. Use it!