The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

What’s on the ballot this Town Meeting Day

Molly Parker

Editor’s Note: This story was updated at 7:00 p.m. on March 4  to update the source for voter registration information.


Four candidates are running for Mayor in Burlington: Progressive Emma Mulvaney-Stanak, Democrat Joan Shannon, and Independents Will Emmons and Chris Haessly, according to the sample ballot for Ward 8.

Miro Weinberger announced in Oct. 2023 that he would not seek reelection as Burlington’s Mayor in 2024, according to an Oct. 28, 2023 VTDigger article. Weinberger has been in office since 2012. 

Burlington mayoral candidates attended a debate at UVM on Feb. 21 where they answered questions regarding UVM’s role in the housing crisis in Burlington. 

Shannon said that while she would not commit herself to a solution just yet, she believes that UVM must demonstrate it is helping to alleviate the housing crisis.

“If you’re building more housing on campus for [first-years] and sophomores only to let them loose to find their own housing in the community in junior and senior year, then you have not helped the students, and you have not helped the neighborhoods,” Shannon said. 

Emmons said at the debate he believes that Burlington’s increase in housing being built must be met with the adequate infrastructure, referencing sewage line breaks and overflows in Burlington.

“If you put in new buildings, you have to have infrastructure to keep up with that,” he said. “You don’t hire an employee without a job, you don’t build a building without the water disposal ability to keep the integrity of your downtown and all your neighborhoods intact.”

Mulvaney-Stanak said during the debate that the size of UVM’s student enrollment affects more than just housing, including the strain an increased class size poses on staff and faculty—something Mulvaney-Stanak said may warrant a student cap on enrollment. 

“UVM—what I’ve noticed from living here twenty years is a continued growth of student enrollment,” Mulvaney-Stanak said at the debate. “There’s much more than just housing one has to understand when we think about the growth of the University.”

UVM has announced plans to build more on-campus housing for juniors and seniors, according to a Sept. 20, 2023 Cynic article

City council

According to the Ward 8 sample ballot, the race for the Ward 8 City Council seat includes incumbent Democrat Hannah King and Progressive Marek Broderick.

In a Feb. 9 candidate forum hosted by Town Meeting TV, both candidates said that they supported the pro-Palestine ballot measure that called for a ceasefire in Gaza that was voted down by the City Council on Dec. 11. 

King said that she was the only Democrat on the city council to support the ceasefire measure.

Broderick said that he supported the measure as well, citing Burlington’s history of involving itself in global politics. 

“I vehemently disagree with the stance that this is a matter that we in Burlington should not be putting our name on,” Broderick said. “I believe that it is our obligation to let the opinion of our citizens be known and advocate for what is right.”

Broderick said he thinks it is important that law enforcement is adequately staffed, but also properly trained.

“We can’t arrest our way out of mental health, we can’t arrest our way out of homelessness, we can’t arrest ourselves out of addiction,” he said. “When we have crises such as that and emergency situations, we need to make sure that we’re sending people that can help.”

King said that she believes all Burlingtonians should be able to benefit from the services of the Burlington Police Department without feeling unsafe, whether they are requesting assistance from a police officer or community service officer. 

“I believe we need community-centered policing that works for all neighbors, and that each community member can feel safe calling BPD,” she said. 

One question asked the candidates whether or not they supported the operation of the McNeil Generating Station, a power plant that burns wood to create steam power. 

On Nov. 21, the Burlington City Council approved a proposal 6-4 to pipe steam from McNeil to heat the University of Vermont Medical Center, according to a Nov. 21, 2023 VTDigger article. 

Environmental groups such as the Conservation Law Foundation have opposed the expansion of the power plant. 

King said that she voted against the expansion of the plant earlier this year. 

“As the youngest member of the council, I felt it was important to stand in solidarity with the large number of young folk I represent,” she said. “As a steward of the city, I believe it is paramount to address their concerns about climate change.”

Broderick said that he believes the McNeil plant needs to be decommissioned, but that Burlington must have a plan in place to replace its energy output. 

“If it’s possible, I would love for our city to be able to create a clean energy generating station,” he said. “However, we may have to look outwards and increase the amount of energy that we take, for example, from Hydro-Québec.”

New Ward 8 boundaries taking effect on election day encompass parts of Central and Athletic campuses. Previously, Ward 8 included dorms on Athletic and Redstone. Ward maps and polling places can be found on the city’s website.

Ballot questions

One of the ballot questions for 2024 asks about a proposed public safety tax rate increase of 4% for 2025. 

According to a Jan. 29 WCAX article, the $0.03 increase in the public safety tax rate would mean an increase of $150 per year for a home valued at $500,000. 

The tax is used to fund operating costs and pay staff for Burlington’s Fire Department and Police Department, according to the city’s website

Other ballot questions include the approval of the Burlington School District budget for 2025 and a charter change to increase temporary loans for the Burlington Electric Department, according to the website. 

Voting guide for students

On town meeting day, March 5, UVM students are able to vote alongside other Burlington residents—here’s how.

College students in Vermont have the ability to register to vote at either their home address or where they attend school, although they can only be registered and vote in one location, according to the Campus Vote Project’s website.

“Any U.S. citizen who is 18 years old and who lives in Vermont can vote in Vermont if the voter considers Vermont to be his or her primary residence,” the website states.

Vermont’s Online Voter Registration System can be found here.

In order to register, one must also provide either a Vermont driver’s license, learner’s permit or personal ID number, or the last four digits of their Social Security number, according to the registration form provided by the Secretary of State’s website. 

Additionally, those who are registering in Vermont for the first time by mail or online must provide either a current and valid photo ID, a bank statement, a utility bill or a government document, according to the Secretary of State’s website.

For further information, the city of Burlington also provides a “How to Vote” tab on its website which can be found here.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Molly Parker
Molly Parker, Illustrations Editor
(She/her) Molly Parker is a senior studio art and anthropology double major from Hopedale, Mass. She had been a member of the illustrations team since the spring of 2020 before becoming editor of the section in the spring of 2023. Molly also creates prints and zines that she displays in the Burlington area as well as her hometown. Apart from illustrating and creating art, she loves watching horror movies, cooking and crocheting. Email [email protected] to get in contact with Molly.