This year's Town Meeting Day addressed an issue far broader than the local school budget -- should Vermonters call for the impeachment of the president and vice president? Thirty-seven towns voted yes.
A poll conducted for Channel 3 News posed the same question to 400 likely voters. 61% said they would be in favor of Congress beginning impeachment proceedings against President Bush. 33% opposed it, and 6% were not sure.
The numbers for Vice President Cheney were slightly different. 64% favor impeachment, while 31% oppose it.
"I'm really overjoyed by this," said Jimmy Leas, a South Burlington lawyer who has been a vocal advocate of impeachment. "Your poll really shows that here in Vermont, nearly two-thirds of the public understand we have a serious problem, and the way to address this is to remove the officials who are usurping power."
"The impeachment results are somewhat surprising, frankly, to me," political scientist Eric Davis said. "Even though their terms are ending in a little bit more than a year, a majority of Vermonters don't want to even see them remaining in office until January 20, 2009."
Vermont's legislature took up the impeachment issue last spring. The Senate passed a resolution calling for the president's impeachment, but a similar effort failed in the House.
Constitutionally, only Congress can impeach an executive. Congressman Peter Welch has said he does not support the impeachment of Bush or Cheney. He spoke at a town hall meeting on the issue in May, and argued impeachment would be a distraction and hamper Congress's efforts to end the war.
Leas said the effort isn't over.
"The founding fathers decided we could have a Congress that's just as corrupt as the president and it's up to the people to get involved and take action," he said. "And this poll shows the people understand this. They don't like the direction this country is going."
Some historical perspective on just how rare impeachment is: Congress has impeached only two presidents in the country's 231-year history - Andrew Johnson in 1868, and Bill Clinton in 1998. Both were acquitted by the Senate. Richard Nixon resigned from office before he could be impeached.
© 2007 WCAX News