in the State House of Representatives
on March 16, 2022, by a vote of
Purpose: The purpose of this vote was to approve the map reapportioning the Vermont House’s voting districts for the 2022-2030 elections. This map would place Vermont’s 150 representative offices in 41 two-member districts and 68 single-member districts, tracking closely with the 2010-20 makeup of 46 two-member districts and 58 single-member districts. One more House vote is needed for the map to be adopted into law.
Analysis: Those voting YES argued that the map put forward by the House Committee on Government Operation's map was the least disruptive map put forward, allowing towns and cities to (mostly) stay in the same voting districts. Due to Covid's disruption of the 2020 Census leading to delayed Vermont population data, proponents of H.722 argued that there wasn't time for deliberation, this map needed to be adopted immediately. Others voting YES did so reluctantly, saying that it was a missed opportunity to not study single member districts more closely.
Some of those voting NO believe that debate should not have been ended as abruptly as it was, especially for something so important. Others voting NO pointed to the House’s refusal to consider the proposed map endorsed by the tripartisan Legislative Apportionment Board. This all single-member district map would have allowed for more equal representation in districts statewide. According to the Legislative Apportionment Board’s survey, 75% of Vermont voters prefer single member districts.
It takes more money to reach voters in two-member districts, effectively making the next 5 Vermont House elections less competitive by screening out candidates based on wealth, and placing a heavier financial and logistical burden on candidates who do run. Additionally, legislators in two-member districts are less accountable to voters, because legislators can more easily discount the feedback of any one citizen in a two-member district, whose vote is weighted half as much as a voter in a single member district.
As Recorded in the House Journal, Wednesday, March 16, 2022: “…Pending the question, Shall the bill be read a third time?, Rep. Copeland Hanzas of Bradford demanded the Yeas and Nays, which demand was sustained by the Constitutional number. The Clerk proceeded to call the roll and the question, Shall the bill be read a third time?, was decided in the affirmative. Yeas, 129. Nays, 13” (Read the Journal, p. 581 – 583).
Legislative Apportionment Board’s Vermont Legislative Redistricting Survey (2021)
EAI Commentary: Why All Single Member Legislative Districts?
How They Voted
(Click on your Rep’s name to view their profile)
Sally Achey (R - Middletown Springs) – YES
Paul Lefebvre (R – Newark) – YES