Frustration With National Politics Energizes Vermont Voters

Several people said their displeasure with the tone and gridlock in Washington animated their voting decisions

In Vermont, where legislators and statewide office-holders have two-year terms, voters had a lot to weigh in on Election Day.

At the polling place in Winooski, several voters told necn and NBC10 Boston it was displeasure with national politics most energizing them.

“I definitely want Donald Trump to go away forever,” Winooski voter Ashley O’Brien said. “So I think that it’s really important that we get some Democratic control back all throughout the rest of government.”

“I just don’t like the way everything’s been going,” said Randall Roberts, another Winooski voter. “I have a problem with one party going to the extreme too much, so I’m sort of dealing with that.”

Decision 2018: Live Election Results

Source: AP
Credit: Sam Hart/NBC

It’s the state races in Vermont that should be the ones to watch, though.

Democrat Christine Hallquist voted in her home district of Hyde Park, aiming to make history by becoming the nation’s first governor who is transgender.

On the campaign trail, she pledged to combat climate change, raise the minimum wage, and expand high-speed internet access to rural pockets of Vermont.

“There is a blue wave going on, and I think it’s a tidal wave that’s going to go coast to coast,” Hallquist told necn affiliate NBC 5 News. “It’s a response to 2016.”

Incumbent Republican Phil Scott filled out his ballot in Berlin, hoping voters are satisfied enough with his focus on affordability to give him another term.

If there is a blue wave crashing, Scott’s best protection may be his name recognition and how he often distances himself from the President.

The governor’s frequent calls for civility in politics meant a mostly positive contest with his challenger, Hallquist.

“I think we can both be proud of the campaigns we ran, and again–rose above negativity,” Scott said. “Some of what we’ve seen across the country has been mean-spirited. And I think that [rising above] is the Vermont way.”

Polls across Vermont close at 7 p.m.

According to the Vermont Secretary of State’s office, roughly 14 percent of registered Vermont voters chose to vote this year using early voting.

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