Vermont’s elected independents push for non partisan representation on apportionment board #vtpoli

Vermont‘s elected independents push for non partisan representation on apportionment board

Vermont’s five elected independent legislators have introduced legislation that will add two residents of the state – who are not affiliated with any political party – to the Legislative Apportionment Board. H.236 has been introduced in the House and sent to the Government Operations Commitee.

How reapportionment works:

Reapportionment occurs during the biennial legislative session following each Federal decennial census. The process primarily—but not exclusively—relies on the population figures gathered during the most recent census. Legislative districts are drawn and House and Senate seats are allocated to ensure that the populations of each district have relatively equal representation in both chambers of the State House. Three entities are involved in the process: the General Assembly, the Legislative Apportionment Board, and municipal Boards of Civil Authority.

How the other members of Legislative Apportionment Board are selected: The Legislative Apportionment Board is the only party to the process whose sole purpose is reapportionment. The Board is chaired by a special master who is appointed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Each political party that has had more than three members serve as members of the General Assembly for at least three of the five biennial legislative sessions since the previous census is represented by two members on the board—one appointed by the Governor and one appointed by the state party committee. Until 2010, the Board had five members with two representatives each from the Democratic and Republican parties. In 2010, the Board expanded to seven members for the first time with the addition of two members from the Progressive party.

History of elected independents serving in the Vermont legislature since the last census:
Vermont has had more than three independent unaffiliated members of the General Assembly serve for at least three of the five biennial legislative sessions since the previous census.

2019/20
Jickling, Murphy, Norris, Pajala, Sibilia

2017/18 (three of the seven independents elected in November 2016 stepped down during the biennium and were replaced with gubernatorial appointed independent representatives)
Jickling, Murphy, Norris (Eastman), Poirer, Pajala (Olsen), Read (Greshin), Sibilia

2015/16
Eastman, Greshin, Murphy, Olsen, Poirer, Sibilia

2013/14
Goodwin, Greshin, Poirer, Stevens

2011/12
Greshin, Poirer, Stevens

 

Reapportionment does not exist for the benefit of the political parties. The process exists to ensure that Vermonters are fairly and equitably represented in the legislature. Over 40% of Americans identify themselves as politically independent, and it is important for all of Vermont’s citizens to be represented and involved throughout the Vermont reapportionment process.

A diverse and representative legislative apportionment board can only strengthen that process.

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For additional comment:

Rep. Ben Jickling bjickling@leg.state.vt.us

Rep. Barbara Murphy bmurphy@leg.state.vt.us

Rep. Terry Norris tnorris@leg.state.vt.us

Rep. Kelly Pajala kpajala@leg.state.vt.us

Rep. Laura Sibilia lsibilia@leg.state.vt.us

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