Help Vermont protect Bernie’s legacy: pass the POSE Act

For those still reeling from Justice Ginsburg and Senator Feinstein’s inability to leave the stage on time, Senator Sanders’ announcement that he is running for re-election this year may not be the most joyous occasion.

However, with one simple legislative solution, the veto-proof Democratic majorities in both houses of the Vermont Legislature can help Vermont protect Bernie’s legacy.

Vermont does require a special election in the event of a vacancy in the Senate, but the election would not occur until six months after the vacancy, which would leave Vermont without adequate representation in the Senate for an unacceptable amount of time.

A fantastic article in the Vermont Law Review from three years ago – Filling US Senate Vacancies in Vermont: Replacing Bernie Sanders Is Tougher Than It Seems, by former Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy Associate Director Quinn Yeargain – identifies the problem and then references to the solution.

Republican Phil Scott has been governor of Vermont since 2017. The moderate Haley backer has promised in the past to appoint a Democrat to fill Sanders’ seat, but because the chance of a 50-50 Senate in the coming years is sometimes very high, a promise is not enough if legislative solutions are needed. exist to protect the elections. Vermont’s Democratic majority.

In the event of a vacant Senate seat, the vast majority of states give the governor the authority to appoint a replacement to serve either until the next statewide general election or until a special election.

Several states smartly require a replacement from the same political party, although Vermont currently does not.

But who replaces senators who do not actually belong to a major political party?

Per Yeargain, Colorado has solved this problem in a shockingly logical faction, where “each independent candidate for the state legislature appoints a ‘vacancy committee’ whose job it is to choose their replacement if they… vacate their seat.”

Now that Senator Sanders is committed to continuing to fight for his principles, health permitting, for another six years, just in case life happens while he’s making those other plans, the Vermont Legislature MUST provide the following simple legislative solution to comfort Senator Sanders, all Vermonters, and all his supporters across the country in light of his eventual departure, if it does not happen on his preferred schedule.

If you support Senator Sanders’ mission, please contact Vermont’s legislative leaders – as well as Senator Sanders’ office! – to get them to support this simple legislative solution to this problem in two statements:

Protect Our Senators’ Elections Act (POSE).

Section 1. If any of Vermont’s U.S. Senators relinquish their seat in the U.S. Senate before the swearing-in of their duly elected successors, the Governor of Vermont must appoint a replacement Senator who 1) represents the same political party as the departed Senator, & 2) has been nominated by at least a plurality of members of the Executive Committee of the same Vermont State political party as that Senator within seven days of the vacancy, with the appointment occurring between 8 and 14 days after the confirmation of the vacancy.

Section 2. For Senator-elects who are not affiliated with a single definitive political party, the Senator-elect shall, before the beginning of each Senate term, publicly register with the Governor’s Office a list of five people who would form a “Vacancy Committee” to conduct a candidate to be appointed. replacement senator who could best continue the departed senator’s representation on behalf of the people of Vermont. The Senator may amend this list once per calendar year by submitting a written statement of the names of the new members of the “Vacancy Committee” to the Office of the Governor and making the list publicly available. The “Vacancy Committee” shall function in a capacity similar to the Executive Committee of each of Vermont’s state political parties, and the Governor shall appoint the Senate candidate nominated by the “Vacancy Committee,” according to the schedule set forth in Section 1.


By passing something along these lines in a timely manner, all Vermonters can confidently vote in this fall’s Senate elections, whether for or even against Senator Sanders, with the full knowledge that Senator Sanders, or a successor with similar convictions, will continue to State of Vermont to serve until the end of the six-year term.

Please contact the following Vermont state officials to express your support of the critical importance of the Vermont Legislature passing legislation such as the POSE Act in the near future to safeguard Senator Sanders’ legacy:

Representative Jill Krowinski, Speaker of the Vermont House of Representatives: Call (802) 828-2245 or email [email protected]

Vermont Senate Majority Leader Senator Alison Clarkson: email [email protected]

Senator Bernie Sanders’ VT Office: Call 800-339-9834 or use Senator Sanders’ official contact form