Vt. House debates ‘sore loser’ election reforms

Published: Mar. 2, 2023 at 5:21 PM EST
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - A bill that would prohibit losing primary candidates from running in the general election was debated on the House floor Thursday.

The most controversial part of House Bill 429 involves the so-called “sore loser provision” that prevents major party candidates who lose their primaries from running in the general election ballot as an Independent. It also makes it easier for people overseas to get their ballots counted and increases how much a candidate can give to a political party from $10,000 to $100,000.

Those opposed to the bill say it makes it harder for Independent candidates to participate in state politics and that increasing the limit to $100,000 makes rich candidates more attractive to political parties. “Passage of these amendments will give the parties power to limit candidates past their primary,” said Rep. Laura Sibilia, I-West Dover.

“To be crystal clear, the bill does not change the ability of an Independent to file on a general election ballot,” said Rep. Michael McCarthy, D-St. Albans. “Sections one and two of the bill respect the will of major party primary voters in choosing the candidate who they wish to nominate.”

Sibilia was unsuccessful in removing the “sore loser provision.” Further amendments are expected before the final vote.

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