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A guide to voting in Vermont for the 2022 midterm election

A graphic reading vermont public election 2022 voter guide. The background is light blue, and the text is in red, dark blue and aqua, with a little red check box.
Laura Nakasaka
/
Vermont Public
The 2022 midterm election is Tuesday, Nov. 8.

The 2022 midterm election is Tuesday, Nov. 8. In Vermont, all registered voters should receive an absentee ballot in the mail by Oct. 10.

So what do the candidates stand for? What state constitutional amendments are on the ballot? And if you aren't registered to vote, how do you do it? We got you covered.

>> Looking for results? Statewide and local race results will start to populate once the polls close.

We'll continue to update this page as we get closer to the election. So bookmark it!

The candidates

A little context: There's a big shakeup in U.S. Congress this year. Sen. Patrick Leahy announced last year that he wouldn't seek a ninth term, and instead retire after serving for 48 years.

Vermont's current (and only) U.S. representative, Peter Welch, is the Democratic nominee for Leahy's Senate seat. Welch faces U.S. Army veteran and Republican nominee Gerald Malloy.

Now that the House seat is open, Vermont could potentially send its first-ever woman and openly gay person to Congress. Vermont Senate President Pro Temp Becca Balint is the Democratic nominee, running against U.S. Marine Corps veteran Liam Madden, who won the Republican primary but identifies as an independent.

Learn more about the candidates below. We've listed them alphabetically, with major-party candidates first, then third-party candidates next.

U.S. Senate

Gerald Malloy is a U.S. Army veteran and West Point Academy graduate who lives in Weathersfield. His campaign gained attention during the primary election season in part due to his catchy "Deploy Malloy" signs, and in an interview the day after winning the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, Malloy told Vermont Public he is "pro-life ... [and] Roe v. Wade — per the Constitution, the 10th Amendment — should be overturned and go to the states, respectively, and the people."

Malloy also says he wants to use his 11-plus years of business experience to "bring new, well-paying jobs and business investments in Vermont, which is sorely needed."

He said that his opponent, Democratic U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, is too far to the left. Malloy says he doesn't think the congressman represents the common sense values of Vermonters.

More from Vermont Public: In an uphill race for the Senate, GOP candidate Gerald Malloy pitches limited government, business experience

U.S. Rep. Peter Welch has held Vermont's lone seat in the U.S. House for 16 years. And the Norwich resident says if elected to the U.S. Senate, he wants to keep that body "on the path of continuing to focus on climate change, reproductive freedom, voting rights..."
After winning the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in the primary election, Welch told Vermont Public that he has always "focused on the everyday needs of Vermonters" and wants to continue doing so. He gave as examples lowering prescription drug costs, making health care and housing more affordable and implementing fair taxes.

Welch says he wants to restore trust that democracies depend on. "That's what I think Vermonters stand for, we trust one another," he said. "We've got to restore that in our governance."

Highlights from Vermont Public's Oct. 13, 2022 debate between Malloy and Welch:

  • Both candidates agreed humans contribute to global warming. But they see a different role for government in addressing climate change. Welch said government policy should "[set] in motion the market dynamics that can help the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy." Malloy said he thought there was too much government intervention in the energy industry, and that the U.S. didn't have the resources to do that.
  • When asked how to address inflation and its effects on Vermonters, the candidates have different priorities. Malloy wants to approach the issue by reducing government spending. Welch said he wants to "help folks who really need it" by supplying food banks and providing heating assistance.
  • While both candidates said they would invest federal dollars to ease the strain on child care workers, centers and parents, they differ on where they'd look to find those funds. Malloy thought some of the money spent on additional IRS agents could go towards child care. Welch noted the country's military budget, and said he wanted to find a way to pay for universal child care.
  • Both candidates said the U.S. should continue to support Ukraine in fighting off Russia’s invasion, with both characterizing Vladimir Putin as the aggressor.
  • The debate ended with the candidates agreeing on Vermont’s best product: maple syrup. Malloy added that he makes his own.

You can also watch the highlights here:

(Find the full debate between Gerald Malloy and Peter Welch here.)

U.S. House

If elected, State Senate President Pro Tem Becca Balint would be the first woman and openly gay person to represent Vermont in Congress. Balint, who lives in Brattleboro, says that possibility makes her "incredibly proud."
Balint, a former teacher, says she tries to lead in the same way she taught, which is "really trying to see every person for the whole of who they are."

After winning the Democratic nomination for U.S. House, Balint said in an interview with Vermont Public that she also has a record of "standing up for regular Vermonters' not just fundamental rights, but... issues that impact them directly, like housing and minimum wage."

More from Vermont Public: Becca Balint wins Democratic nomination for U.S. House

Liam Madden is a U.S. Marine and an Iraq War veteran who works in the renewable energy sector. And even though he won the Republican nomination for U.S. House, he identifies as an independent. The state GOP is not backing Madden.
The Rockingham resident told Vermont Public the day after winning the nomination that he felt there was a "deep hunger" in Vermonters to "shift away from the two-party system that we see as pretty dysfunctional and warlike and corrupt."

Madden says his number one priority is a government that works: "I'm talking term limits, and election finance reform... but also really a renaissance of civic life and problem solving and engagement."

More from Vermont Public: In bid for U.S. House seat, Liam Madden is running against the system

Highlights from Vermont Public's Oct. 11, 2022 debate between Balint and Madden:

  • The candidates differed on whether reproductive rights should be handled at the state or federal level. Madden opposes some late-term abortions, while Balint supports full reproductive choice.
  • When asked how the U.S. and NATO allies should proceed in the war in Ukraine, both candidates pushed for the continuation of behind-the-scenes diplomacy, but disagreed on whether Ukraine should be allowed into NATO. Balint said she was open to Ukraine joining NATO but said she would need more hard intelligence to make that decision. Madden agreed that they both would need to learn more about the conflict once elected, but said he already knew that allowing Ukraine to join NATO "would trigger an immediate hostile war with Russia that could escalate to nuclear war."
  • The candidates did find common ground on a number of topics, including term limits for members of Congress, the importance of developing new energy technologies to combat climate change, and Medicare for All.

You can also watch the highlights here:

(Find the full debate between Becca Balint and Liam Madden here.)

Governor

Gov. Phil Scott is running for a fourth term. The Berlin resident won the Republican nomination in August with 69% of the vote.

Scott has enjoyed high levels of popularity as governor, according to polls from Vermont Public. He says he's seeking reelection because he wants to oversee the expenditure of more than billion dollars in federal COVID relief money. He says he can bring a team seasoned in government.

"That’s what we provide," Scott said. "It isn’t just me. It’s many of the commissioners and secretaries that are part of our team that will carry the load.”

Brenda Siegel is an activist from southern Vermont who's made a name for herself both in her previous runs for office and her anti-poverty campaigns. The Newfane resident became the Democratic nominee for governor after running uncontested in the primary election.
In an interview after that election, Siegel said she has already made "major changes" in Vermont, "including access to buprenorphine, a lifesaving medication for people with opioid use disorder... our community members and neighbors were safely sheltered this past winter when the governor was ready to leave people on the street."

Siegel said that while her opponent, Gov. Phil Scott, is "governing by veto," she has collaborative relationships with legislators and wants to move forward on issues.

More from Vermont Public: Democratic candidate for governor Brenda Siegel says Vermont needs a new kind of leader

Highlights from Vermont Public's Oct. 18, 2022 debate between Scott and Siegel:

  • The debate started with the candidates clashing over how to reduce Vermont’s emissions. Scott said he's a "big believer" in vehicle electrification, but Siegel said Vermont has to do more than address emissions "one electric vehicle at a time," because that's not affordable for many families. She added that the state needs local renewable energy sources.
  • When it comes to the opioid crisis, Siegel and Scott disagreed on one harm-reduction strategy: safe injection sites. Siegel supports trying these sites — where people can use drugs under the supervision of health care workers — in Vermont. But Scott said he wanted to focus money on "proven" methods like the state's hub-and-spoke model.
  • Both candidates agreed the state needs more housing units. While Scott said there are fewer resources to provide housing now that the pandemic is over, Siegel said there needed to be both short- and long-term fixes, including housing people right now.
  • The candidates challenged each other on paying for their campaign promises. Siegel told Scott she didn't think his administration had made strategic investments, and Vermont as a result was paying for its unsolved problems. Scott disagreed that problems were going unsolved, and questioned where Siegel was going to find "half a billion dollars to a billion" to follow through on her promises.
  • They also discussed resettlement efforts of Afghan refugees, amid a shortage of affordable housing in Vermont. Scott said Vermont has a moral obligation to accept as many refugees as possible. Siegel said she was proud of the efforts being made to support refugees in the state, though she added that she worried some were being resettled in rural areas far from resources.

You can also watch the highlights here:

(Find the full debate between Phil Scott and Brenda Siegel here.)

Lieutenant governor

Caledonia Sen. Joe Benning is a moderate who has denounced Donald Trump. After winning the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor in the primary, the Lyndon resident told Vermont Public that while there's division in his own party, he wants to reach out to those who didn't vote for him, and find what they have in common.

Benning says he has "a very strong desire to maintain the institution of the [state] Senate." And he says while his opponent, David Zuckerman, has out-fundraised him, he has something Zuckerman doesn't: a good working relationship with the current governor.

"[A]s Senate minority leader, I was working literally with his entire team on a daily basis," Benning said.

More from Vermont Public: Where Vermont's lieutenant governor candidates stand on climate, health care and more

David Zuckerman is an organic farmer from Hinesburg who held the position of lieutenant governor for four years and served in the state Legislature for almost 20 years before that.
In an interview with Vermont Public after winning the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor, Zuckerman said his number one priority is to "establish committees that are going to target issues of economic stability for Vermonters ..."

Of working with Gov. Phil Scott should he win re-election, Zuckerman said that if "the governor would be willing and interested in working on the kinds of issues that he and I agree on, I think we'll get a lot done."

Highlights from Vermont Public's Oct. 20 2022 debate between Benning and Zuckerman:

  • Early in the debate, the candidates disagreed on the state’s role in tackling climate change, curbing carbon emissions and adding renewable energy sources. Zuckerman advocated for carbon sequestration on farms through cover crops, while Benning said he thought the issue was a federal government conversation.
  • The candidates disagreed on what was slowing down the process toward gaining more affordable housing. Zuckerman said he supported adding a rooms tax to the state’s lodging and rental rates. Benning said the state just set aside a substantial chunk of money — $90 million, from the ARPA funding — for the specific purpose of actually getting homes built.
  • The candidates clashed on whether state government should pay for programs like child care, health care and housing, with Benning accusing Zuckerman of not thinking about the start-up costs for his proposals. Zuckerman said "some of that work has been done, and often it's dated..."
  • The candidates agreed on Article 22, a proposed constitutional amendment, commonly known as Proposal 5 or Prop 5, that would enshrine reproductive health rights into the state Constitution.

(Find the full debate between Joe Benning and David Zuckerman here.)

  • Ian G. Diamondstone (Green Mountain Peace and Justice Party, from Putney)

Attorney general

Charity Clark previously served in the Vermont attorney general's office for eight years, including four as chief of staff. If the Williston resident wins the race, she'll become the first-ever woman to hold the office of attorney general in Vermont.
Clark, the Democratic nominee, told Vermont Public she wants to protect abortion service recipients and providers, take state-level action on climate issues, revive an expungement bill vetoed by the governor and advocate for issues outside the purview of the office, like child care and paid family and medical leave.

“Vermont needs a leader with the experience and the background to leverage the attorney general’s office for the best results for Vermont and Vermonters," Clark said.

The Vermont GOP nominated Michael Tagliavia as the Republican candidate for attorney general, according to VTDigger, after H. Brooke Paige rescinded his nomination for this seat and several others he won in the primary election.

Tagliavia is a "Second Amendment supporter... Right to Life supporter" who has experience running small businesses, according to the campaign's website. The Corinth resident also wants to help Vermonters "thrive," including by "providing a safe place for children to learn, for everyone (both young and old) to feel safe walking to their car or down Main Street."

Tagliavia's platform includes addressing public safety through bail reform, "proper support, training and funding" for police and changing the "awful trend" in Vermont's drug crisis.

Secretary of state

Bradford Rep. Sarah Copeland Hanzas has served in the Vermont House of Representatives for 18 years, including as chair of the Government Operations Committee. She won the Democratic nomination for secretary of state in a three-way primary race, beating out her closest competitor, Deputy Secretary of State Chris Winters, by a little more than two percentage points.

According to her campaign website, Copeland Hanzas is running "to lead the charge on strengthening, protecting and preserving Vermont’s democracy."

Her platform includes fighting for free and fair elections, protecting the planet from climate change, advocating for reproductive rights, protecting victims of sexual harassment and supporting LGBTQ+ rights.

H. Brooke Paige won the Republican nomination for several statewide positions, but has rescinded his candidacy in other races to run for secretary of state. The Washington resident is also on the GOP ticket for treasurer — running against Winooski Democrat Mike Pieciak — after the state Republican Party failed to nominate another candidate, according to VTDigger.

Paige runs a "one-person campaign" according to his website, and is a perennial candidate on the Vermont ballot. He says he believes "[i]t is time for our elected officials to start doing what is best for the state and her citizens — protecting the common interest instead of their special interests."

Paige's platform includes streamlining business regulations, supporting Vermont farmers, reducing tax demand, increasing transparency in government and bolstering energy efficiency and conservation efforts.

The proposed constitutional amendments

Voters will decide on whether to adopt two different amendments to the Vermont Constitution. These are on the ballot after going through the state Legislature. A majority of voters have to approve the proposed amendments for the Constitution to change.

Proposal 2 (Article 1 of Chapter 1)

On the midterm election ballot, the first question voters will be asked is:

To see if the voters will amend the Vermont Constitution by amending Article 1 of Chapter 1 to read:

“Article 1. [All persons born free; their natural rights; slavery and indentured servitude prohibited] That all persons are born equally free and independent, and have certain natural, inherent, and unalienable rights, amongst which are the enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety; therefore no person born in this country, or brought from over sea, ought to be holden by law, to serve any person as a servant, slave or apprentice, after arriving to the age of twenty-one years, unless bound by the person’s own consent, after arriving to such age, or bound by law for the payment of debts, damages, fines, costs, or the like slavery and indentured servitude in any form are prohibited."

This amendment to Article 1 of Chapter 1 is commonly known as Proposal 2 or Prop 2.

Most residents of the state have probably heard at some point in their lives that Vermont was the first state to abolish slavery. In fact, Vermont's Constitution, first written in 1777, actually contains language that allows for slavery or indentured servitude under certain circumstances.

Two organizations — the Vermont Racial Justice Alliance (VRJA) and Vermont Interfaith Action — launched a campaign this summer to strip those so-called “exception clauses” from the state’s founding document.

Rev. Mark Hughes, executive director of the VRJA, told Vermont Public getting people to vote "yes" on Prop 2 is the easy part. The heavier lift, he said, is explaining the state’s complicated history with slavery, and how its legacy persists.

More than 20 states have constitutions with exception clauses. In the last four years, three states — Colorado, Nebraska and Utah — have approved constitutional amendments to remove them.

More from Vermont Edition: Your questions about Vermont's 'reproductive liberty' amendment, answered

Proposal 5 (Article 22)

The second question on the midterm ballot will be:

To see if the voters will amend the Vermont Constitution by adding Article 22 to read:

“Article 22. [Personal reproductive liberty] That an individual’s right to personal reproductive autonomy is central to the liberty and dignity to determine one’s own life course and shall not be denied or infringed unless justified by a compelling State interest achieved by the least restrictive means.”

In Vermont, abortion has been legal for decades and protected by law for several years, which means even though the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade this year — leaving abortion access up to states — the procedure remains accessible here.

This proposed amendment, commonly known as Proposal 5 or Prop 5, would enshrine reproductive health rights into the state constitution. Vermont would become the first state to do so, if voters approve.

Sarah McCammon, an NPR correspondent covering abortion and reproductive rights, said the amendment shores up what is already in state law.

“It’s kind of a 'belt and suspenders' approach, as one advocate described it to me,” she said in a recent conversation with Vermont Edition. “If the winds were ever to change and Vermont lawmakers were to move in a different direction, a Constitutional amendment would provide another protection for abortion rights."

McCammon added: "But I think the biggest impact right now is symbolic. At this moment, on the heels of Roe being overturned, when there is so much attention on states that are banning abortion, this gives Vermont voters a chance to say, if they wish, that is not the direction they want to go.”

More from Brave Little State: How did Vermont profit from slavery?

How to vote

If you need to register to vote, you can do so online, by mail and in person at your city or town clerk's office. You can register on Election Day or before. Learn more here.

Every registered Vermont voter should receive an absentee ballot in the mail no later than Oct. 10. If you don't get one in the mail or if you register after that date, you can request an absentee ballot until 5 p.m. — or a different closing time of the town or city clerk's office — on the last day before the election that the clerk has regular hours.

You can drop off your absentee ballot at your clerk's office until closing time on Monday, Nov. 7. You can also bring it to the polls up until 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

And if you don't want to vote early, you can do it the old-fashioned way, and head to the voting booth on Nov. 8. Polling hours begin between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m., depending on the town or city, and end at 7 p.m. everywhere.

Don't know where your polling place is? Find out here.

Speak a language other than English? The Vermont Secretary of State provides the multilingual videos below:

عربى

မြန်မာ

Français

नेपाली

Soomaali

kiswahili

More coverage

You can find continuing coverage of the 2022 midterm election in Vermont by bookmarking our Election 2022 page.

Have questions, comments or tips? Send us a message.

Corrected: October 17, 2022 at 3:01 PM EDT
This post has been changed to reflect David Zuckerman's party is Progressive/Democrat.
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