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In Vermont, This 14-Year-Old Can Run for Governor Before He Can Drive or Gamble

Like so many other states, age laws in Vermont are showing themselves to be disproportionate.

|||https://ethansonneborn.com/https://ethansonneborn.com/While Ethan Sonneborn begins his freshman year of high school this year, he will simultaneously be running for governor of Vermont. Only 14 years of age, Sonneborn found a legal loophole that allowed him to get his name on the ballot. As Sonneborn explains on his website, the Vermont state Constitution does not have a minimum age to run for the governorship. It merely requires that a candidate "shall have resided in this State four years next preceding the day of election."

Sonneborn is running on a progressive platform. Among other things, he's advocating for a worker's bill of rights and a higher minimum wage, a carbon emissions tax, and universal healthcare. He also refers to himself as a "proud backer of Sen. Bernie Sanders' Medicare for All legislation." Sonneborn's ideas don't stop there. In a recent debate, Sonneborn supported taxing and regulating the state's recently legalized marijuana.

While the age laws in Vermont, or in this case, a lack thereof, have inadvertently allowed Sonneborn to run for the highest political office, they have also criminalized a wide range activities for this would-be governor. As Reason has found, disproportionate age laws would allow someone to hold political office in Vermont before they were trusted to operate a moving vehicle, gamble, or even hold an agricultural job.

Here are some of the age barriers that Sonneborn currently faces:

Sexual Consent

The age of sexual consent in Vermont is 16 while the age of legal consent is set at 18. With certain exceptions, a teen can get married as young as 16.

Though the age of consent is 16, a Vermont teen can still be convicted for sexting until the age of 18.

Driving

Stonneborn will be unable to receive his learner's permit until he's 15. At 16, he'll be able to drive himself around the state. He'll still need to wait an additional 6 months to enjoy full driving privileges.

Tobacco

Sonneborn will not be able to purchase a legal cigarette for another four years in Vermont. Vaping is similarly out of the question. Like cigarettes and cigars, the legal age for vaping is 18.

Agricultural Work

Should Stonneborn decide he wants to leave both high school and the political life behind for field work, he'll have to wait until he's 16 to do so during school hours. Thankfully, if he decides to switch paths tomorrow, he can obtain a labor certificate to allow him to work two years ahead of the age limit.

There are no age restrictions for doing agricultural work outside of school hours.

Traditional Work

If Stonneborn decides to find other kinds of work while remaining in school, he will still be required to obtain an employment certificate until he turns 16.

Abortion

Teenagers in Vermont are allowed to get abortions without first obtaining the consent of a parent, guardian, or court of law.

Gambling

Stonneborn is barred from participating in the lottery until he turns 18. Charity bingo and pull tabs are also out of the question.

Photo Credit: https://ethansonneborn.com/

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  • Pro Libertate||

    Huh. This reminds of Logan's Run, the book not the movie.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Reminds me more of the Star Wars kid. But that's just me.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Him, too.

  • Juice||

    Dude was born a year after the invasion of Iraq.

    shit quality but obligatory

  • ||

    Dude was born a year after the invasion of Iraq.

    Facebook has existed for all of his life.

    It's too soon for that shit.

  • Sevo||

    "In Vermont, This 14-Year-Old Can Run for Governor..."

    Hey, the SF City Council needs an adult POV; get him out here!

  • Eddy||

    So he has an excuse for his socialist platform.

    It's not literally true that anyone who isn't a socialist by 21 has no heart and anyone who's a socialist at 30 has no brain - at least the first part isn't literally true - but it captures enough truth that you can see a 14 y/o socialist and it makes sense.

    Vermont, IIRC, also lets convicted felons vote while they're still incarcerated. And it's rehabilitative!

    Which is why their Crime Victims' Rights Act contains a "snitches get stiches" clause. (Just kidding - I think.)

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Lefties are putting their best foot forward!

    Hahaha. This kid is probably an Incel and has zero idea what the World is about. He's been brainwashed in school and has yet to see that the schools have not prepared him for life let alone see that he has been lied to.

  • Libertymike||

    Are you kidding?

    I bet this kid has had more action than Stormy Daniels at a stag party. He certainly has had more than Obama or Mike Dukakis or Lay down Lindsey did at 14.

  • ||

    Lefties are putting their best foot forward!

    Between Sonneborn and Hallquist, the panel is hilarious. They really need a talking monkey who works for a mute organ grinder to really round out the cast.

  • Oli||

    Well, it did work for the Connies. They even got their 14 year old elected President!

  • Uncle Adolf's Gas and Grill||

    How long before he's writing articles for Reason?

  • Dillinger||

    I hope Vermont takes him seriously

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Sanders is from there, so Vermonters are not too bright.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    Cathy L is changing her undies before responding.

  • Cathy L||

    One of us really likes to fantasize about adults having sexual relationships with minors, eh?

  • ||

    I thought that's what he meant when he said you had to change your undies.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Cathy L, he's a minor AND a Lefty political candidate.

    He's just your kind of boy.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    It isn't fantasizing to want to stop it. Your refusal to makes us wonder about you.

  • TuIpa||

    That's yet another embarrassing admission Cathy.

  • Lowdog||

    I love all the jumping to conclusions based on ones own biases that we're seeing lately.

    "You're a lefty!"
    "You're a pedo!"

    There can be plenty of nuance in people's opinions. And some may simply be playing devil's advocate - or trolling the reactionaries.

    Lol

  • TuIpa||

    Go diddle a kid, Cathy.

  • Libertymike||

    No one takes issue with Zuri's characterization: "Sonneborn found a legal loophole that allowed him to get on the ballot."

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Does he have to self-identify as a woman to get that abortion?

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    He might just win.

    Look who's president

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Progressive platform? Yeah, I guess that's something an adolescent would think up.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Everyone gets a pony.

  • Microaggressor||

    Legalize Santa Claus!

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Although in his case, I'm guessing everyone has a right to win at Fortnite.

  • Agammamon||

    The age of sexual consent in Vermont is 16 while the age of legal consent is set at 18. With certain exceptions, a teen can get married as young as 16.

    So, what this really means is that the inevitable sex-with-interns scandal is going to get really complicated.

  • ||

    So, what this really means is that the inevitable sex-with-interns scandal is going to get really complicated.

    Kinda throws a wrench into the dead girl/live boy scenario.

  • ||

    A major reason I decided to run was because I saw apathy from young people in my community. I decided that something had to be done about dismal voter participation rates.

    Funny. I assume the participation among his community peers is 0%. However, a once-through on his website shows it to be the same banal, boilerplate blather and indistinguishable from any adult candidate. But then:

    We should be spending less on administrative bureaucracy and more on teachers and students.

    A progressive wants less bureaucracy? In education? Maybe he should be taken seriously.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    A progressive wants less bureaucracy? In education? Maybe he should be taken seriously.

    I'm sure the teacher's union will set him straight.

  • Oli||

    They'll just make him write "I WILL NOT MESS WITH OUR BEAUTIFUL BUREAUCRACY" on a board, until he's back in line.

  • Dillinger||

    wtf is "convicted for sexting"?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Davis will tell you when you're older.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Age barriers?

    Is this Buzzfeed?

  • lap83||

    While Ethan Sonneborn begins his freshman year of high school this year, he will simultaneously be running for governor of Vermont. Only 14 years of age......Sonneborn is running on a progressive platform

    I know I left my shocked face around here somewhere...

  • Libertymike||

    If the creepy porn lawyer can run for president, why can't this kid run for guvnah?

  • Eddy||

    Bill Clinton?

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Sonneborn is running on a progressive platform. Among other things, he's advocating for a worker's bill of rights and a higher minimum wage, a carbon emissions tax, and universal healthcare. He also refers to himself as a "proud backer of Sen. Bernie Sanders' Medicare for All legislation." Sonneborn's ideas don't stop there. In a recent debate, Sonneborn supported taxing and regulating the state's recently legalized marijuana.

    IOW, exactly the kind of bullshit that only a 14 year old could be stupid enough to support...

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    In a recent debate, Sonneborn supported taxing and regulating the state's recently legalized marijuana.

    Turns out progressives weren't the friends the marijuana-legalization movement really wanted.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    The media has to avoid that fact every day.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ""Sonneborn is running on a progressive platform. Among other things, he's advocating for a worker's bill of rights and a higher minimum wage, a carbon emissions tax, and universal healthcare.""

    I guess he's too young to remember when Vermont passed universal healthcare and abandoned it over the expense.

    I wonder what his position on the taxation of allowances given to his peers by their parents?

  • Fats of Fury||

    He'll pass the cost on to Santa Claus.

  • Eddy||

    Slogan: "I'm too young to screw anyone!"

    No, wouldn't work for a socialist.

  • Oli||

    politician*

  • DiegoF||

    Unless it's now the turn for Reason to be taken over by the LP faction that wants to ride to its moment™ on a wave of popular outrage over age of consent laws and driver's licenses, I'm not really sure what the point of this exercise was.

    Interesting that the candidates seem to be participating in one of those local-cable-station debates where apparently everyone who files the paperwork gets invited. I think I've seen that before in the smaller states, but I'm surprised it's still done.

    Pressed by some reporters, he Vermont S.o.S. had apparently told them his office was looking into the possibility of closing the "loophole" (really, this word should be banned by editorial policy by any source professing to be libertarian; shame!) allowing him to run.

    This is too bad. It really is harmless. It really is an endearing local political quirk of the state (and Kansas, which has several children running), bound to get it on the news every couple years, and a good way to get kids interested in civics. I'm surprised it's gone as far as debate participation, which increases the likelihood it'll be abolished as "embarrassing," but it's hardly worse than the crowd of LaRouchies, weed activists, and guys in Uncle Sam hats that normally get to participate in these "all-candidate" affairs...

  • DiegoF||

    ...So let the kids keep running! Really there's no reason to have any kind of qualifications for something as prominent as governor. Let people run from prison if need be. There's normally a strong guiding principle--especially for chief executives--that the electorate has full responsibility and scope of choice for choosing someone competent. If a child or jailbird really has a shot there are more profound problems with the state...

  • DiegoF||

    ...Kids voting is a very different story; and that is the real lede. It should be shouted from the rooftops that children will vote for POTUS next election thanks to a law about to be passed this fall by the DC city council. If Congress blocks it, they will likely do it on a party line (the Council may yet wise up and wait until next year to do it) and it will make the news all the same and spread like wildfire into every blue state. Up until now common sense has prevented it, but the new mood of "the deplorables are rigging everything!" and "listen to the wisdom of the children! where adults 'have not acted'" is enabling it. The new line is "we stop being pussies and take the gloves off, because they have always fought dirty and now the future of Western civilization hangs in the balance." This is their ace, and they will play it henceforth. Children will vote in every blue state eventually even though young adults cannot drink until 21 (how the fuck was that not included on the laundry list of outrages?), are increasingly unable to smoke until then in Blue America, and are being increasingly infantilized on and off college campuses by progs blathering on about "developing brains." The Scottish Nats led the way, using them to try to rig their indyref. Now it's arrived on our shores. Goodbye red seats in blue states.

  • perlchpr||

    I thought the voting age was set by the Constitution. How is D.C. (or any blue state) going to pass a law that overrides that?

  • DiegoF||

    It is not, although that is a common myth. It has always been completely up to the states. The only rule is that the voting qualifications for Federal elections in the state are fixed and determined to be precisely the same as those for the state's lower house. Nowhere does the Constitution provide, or permit Congress to provide, otherwise.

  • Chipper Jonze||

    The only age-related requirement today is that you can't prevent 18+ from voting. Before that, there was no age requirements at all. And it doesn't prevent a state from going

  • perlchpr||

    ...

    Are you sure?

    I mean... isn't that explicitly what the 26th Amendment was about?

  • perlchpr||

    I mean, personally, I'm thinking maybe we raise the voting age to 36 or so.

  • Fats of Fury||

    He's a good choice, he can't legally fuck the citizens for two more years.

  • Ecoli||

    Finally, a mature progressive!

  • Longtobefree||

    It will turn out that this is just an extra credit assignment for his civics class.

  • Chipper Jonze||

    Does this mean that he can go after the interns...and then get them charged with (statutory) rape if they complain?

  • Ryan Davis||

    Excellent! If I knew that it was possible, I would not have written my essay myself, I would have asked to write an essayfrom a special service. In the meantime, I would have been balancing to the post of governor.

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