Evolving Peace

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Monday, December 04, 2006

Falling Snow in a Democracy

Hanging chads and falling snow, visions of democracy and winter fill the air. Today at least the snow has finally come to Montpelier; a smooth white blanket of snow falling to the frozen ground brings out a romantic vision of winter in Vermont, while the democratic process of elections carry on. Having no actually employment, today I began a stint of participating in the recount for the State of Vermont’s Auditor election. While there are no hanging chads a tedious work is fore coming. The State Auditors race has come down to a recount, provisionary returns has listed incumbent Republican Randy Brock with a 136 vote lead over Democrat Tom Salmon Jr.

So many times I have heard the phrase that every single vote counts, but as mere numbers show there is very little room for error. Sitting in courthouses in every county throughout the state volunteers began their arduous task of recounting the votes. Ballot after ballot has to be recounted to verify the accuracy of the town clerks tally. I give credit to those candidates for really wanting the position. Why would any one of these two men and one woman (Martha Abbot, Progressive Party) really want the job being a state auditor? I for one began college as a math major, but soon realized that playing with numbers was a mind numbing task. Hats off to them for wanting to campaign for this job, I would not be caught dead doing that job.

Lessons of democracy, while only 53.5percent of the state voted in this last election hundreds of volunteers are sacrificing their time to make sure the democratic process works. While, the state’s air waves and landscape were covered by the more publicized election races elected positions like the state auditors race had virtually ignored. Not really sure what the heck the state auditor does, I did not take an avid interest in informing myself on how to vote either. So I see that countless Vermonters did not even vote, or even still fully educate themselves on the candidates, I question how actually voted on the rise with full awareness of the candidacies.

On paper, direct democracy sounds good but when a majority of the population has no time to inform themselves on the major candidates I feel that the process has been expanded too far. Countless ballot items, such as Justice of the Peace, Probate Judge, Sheriff, Bailiff line the ballots. While in an ideal world everybody should be able to vote for those individual positions, so in those I propose that possibly those positions by through political appointment by the Governor and then approved by the Legislature. We have trusted our elections to the higher positions and those lesser known positions should be under their discretion.

So tomorrow, while I go back to the recount, I wonder if there could be better ways for this process. I’m sure Randy Brock, Tom Salmon Jr., or Martha Abbot will all make fine auditors but there already is enough partisan debate and time would be spent more productively addressing the needs of the state in a better way. While almost half of registered voters did not vote at all, elections like this are decided by a few votes and while we are given a choice we should all use it. Democracy can work but only when we are all involved and take the time to care. While we all go to sleep tonight and the snow continues to fall I have visions that our democracy will continue to grow.


Robb Kidd

“Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” Winston Churchill


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