Justice Deptartment asked to look at legality of Act 46

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copyright the Chronicle July 19, 2017


by Tena Starr


Two former school board members from Franklin County have asked the federal Department of Justice to investigate the legality of Act 46, the Vermont law that requires school districts to consolidate.

Jay Denault and James Jewitt have filed a complaint saying it’s their belief that Act 46 violates the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as well as two other sections of federal law that prohibit intimidation, threatening, or coercion of voters.

Essentially, they assert, the law contains what amounts to both bribes and threats aimed at pushing people toward voting how the state wants them to vote.

“…said legislation contains descriptions of coercion and multiple, significant financial rewards, being provided in exchange for an affirmative vote by the electorate to implement the requirements of Act 46,” the complaint says. “Further, this legislation contains specific language which details threats and intimidation of the electorate for failing to comply with the requirements of Act 46. Such threats include, but are not limited to, the authority provided by Act 46 to the Vermont State Department of Education to force compliance with the requirement of Act 46 against the will of the people.”

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