Vernon’s Democratic and Republican committees have set caucus dates as follows:
- The Republican Town Caucus will take place on Thursday, July 30 at 6 p.m., in the Selectboard Room of the Town Office Building. All Republican voters are invited. The agenda consists of nominations for the position of Justice of the Peace, and any new business. For information, contact Sandra B. Harris, town chair for the Republican Party, at email@example.com.
- The Democratic Town Caucus is scheduled for Monday, August 3 at 5 p.m., and will take place electronically via Zoom. The agenda is as follows: (1) Consent agenda for minutes / budget; (2) New members; (3) Nominations for JP Candidates; (4) New Business; (5) Announcements. To join the Zoom meeting, go to https://collaborative.zoom.us/j/234485097, Meeting ID: 234 485 0937. This is an Open Meeting is for any Vernon registered voter desiring to be part of the committee and/or be a Justice of the Peace Democratic candidate. For questions, email Vernon Town Democratic Committee chair firstname.lastname@example.org.
The office of Justice of the Peace, for which both parties will be nominating candidates, has five broad sets of responsibilities, which are as follows:
1) Elections. Each justice of the peace is a member of his or her town’s Board of Civil Authority (BCA). 24 V.S.A. § 801. The BCA is charged with the conduct of all elections that occur in town (primary, general, special, and local). 17 V.S.A. § 2451. Upon request, JPs are also responsible for delivering absentee ballots at election time to voters who are ill or physically disabled. 17 V.S.A. § 2538(a).
2) Tax appeals and abatement. As BCA members, justices of the peace hear and decide town property tax assessment appeals when local property owners do not agree with the final decision of the listers. 32 V.S.A. § 4404. Because JPs are BCA members, they also sit as members of their town’s Board of Abatement to determine whether a taxpayer’s property tax obligation should be forgiven under certain circumstances. 24 V.S.A. § 1533.
3) Marriages. Justices of the peace may solemnize marriages in Vermont. 18 V.S.A. § 5144.
4) Oaths and notarial acts. Justices of the peace may administer oaths in all cases where an oath is required, unless a specific law makes a different provision. 12 V.S.A. § 5852. Justices of the peace may also perform notarial acts. Under 2018 legislation modernizing notary public regulation, JPs must apply for and renew their notary public commissions through the Secretary of State’s Office of Professional Regulation. There is no fee for this commission.
5) Duties as magistrate. If commissioned by the Supreme Court, a justice of the peace may also serve as a magistrate. Vt. Const. Ch. II, § 52.
For further information about the office of Justice of the Peace, please refer to the Secretary of State’s Vermont Justice of the Peach Guide. (PDF)