Copeland Hanzas: a fighter (ask our mom)

BRATTLEBORO — Democracy is under attack like never before. We see it in the headlines every day as the Jan. 6 Commission continues its work.

While it would be nice to think of the events of that dark day as safely behind us, the truth is that the forces at work undermining elections are gathering for another try in 2022 and beyond.

For example, the Republican nominee for governor of Pennsylvania has boasted that, if elected, he could refuse to certify an election outcome that he did not like.

From intentional disinformation to active voter suppression, the danger to the fundamental tenets of our democracy is real. If we don't summon the will to fight for our institutions of democracy, we are at risk of losing them.

As the state officials charged with overseeing elections and signing off on results, secretaries of state are on the front lines of this battle. Electing the right people for these positions is more critical than ever.

That is why I support Sarah Copeland Hanzas to be Vermont's next secretary of state.

Sarah has 18 years' experience in the Legislature, overseeing the office of secretary of state. She spearheaded democracy initiatives that have broken down barriers for Vermonters to register and vote. When the pandemic hit, she led efforts to enact universal vote-by-mail for the general election. In 2021, she led the charge that made universal vote-by-mail permanent for Vermont's general elections.

As chair of the Government Operations Committee, Sarah led the state through redistricting, putting forward a map that gained tripartisan support. She led the Pension Task Force, which recommended reforms to stabilize our public employee pension system. These reforms were passed through the House and Senate unanimously.

A more fundamental quality makes her the best choice. In these perilous times for democracy, we need fighters. Sarah is a fighter, and she will bring that fighting spirit to the secretary of state's office.

How do I know this about Sarah? Because she has been fighting with me for 50 years. I'm her brother. Take it from me (or ask our mom) - she will stand her ground, even when it is difficult or uncomfortable.

Please join me in casting your ballot for Sarah Copeland Hanzas on Aug. 9.

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