Seven weeks ahead of Election Day, the push is on to get people registered to vote and the City of Burlington is no exception. The Vermont Racial Justice Alliance held a voter registration drive to help people in the local community.

“Most folks who are eligible to vote don’t and I think that’s a really powerful thing to process,” said Reverend Mark Hughes of the Vermont Racial Justice Alliance.  

“We’ve been doing a lot of tabling throughout Burlington,” said Miha Longmore, Outreach and Education Director for the Vermont Racial Justice Alliance. “We’ve tabled some downtown Burlington and City Market, things like that.” 

Reverend Hughes says he doesn’t take the right to vote for granted, especially as an African American. “Instead of being discouraged and intimidated, this is a time to be encouraged and motivated.” While he notes that the community has come a long way, he wants their voice heard at the polls. “No matter what adversity we face we still find a way and make a way out of no way. The African American people of this nation are a proud people. We are a resilient people.” 

In November, Vermonters will decide whether to send a woman to Congress for the first time in the state’s history and for the first time in 16 years, there is a Senate seat open, since Patrick Leahy is retiring.

Also on the ballot are two propositions. Article 22 would codify abortion rights in Vermont’s constitution and Prop 2 would change the language around the prohibition of slavery.

“What Vermont did was prohibit slavery but only after arriving to the age of 21 years unless bound by a person’s own consent or after arriving to such age or bound for law of payment of debts, damages, fines, costs or alike,” said Reverend Hughes.  

“We read about abolitionists, we read about general Harriet Tubman and we think about Frederick Douglas. We talk about abolitionists but if any of us lean forward and lean into this movement to abolish slavery in Vermont, our children and grandchildren will read about us And that’s exciting.” 

The General Election will be on November 8. If you missed a national voting registration event, there’s still time to register early with the DMV or your local town clerk.