MONTPELIER – The votes are in and after 230 years Vermont has a new state motto. Starting in January of 2020 “I Don’t Care What You Do, Just Leave Me Alone” will replace “Freedom and Unity” on the Seal of Vermont.
The new motto is a result of a referendum spearheaded by Bennington Rep. Camille Torres. Torres began the push for a new motto late last year after seeing the November general election’s low voter turnout number. “Just under 57% of registered voters in Vermont had voted and I really wanted to do something to get people excited about their government” says Torres, “I thought a new state motto would be something fun people on both sides of the aisle could engage with.”
Torres convinced legislators to enact a special new mail-in referendum intended to reach voters who wouldn’t normally come to a polling station. The mail-in ballots, which were sent to every registered voter in the state, contained five proposed mottos submitted by five randomly selected state legislators. After the ballots were returned and counted Franklin Representative Luke Marsh’s “I Don’t Care What You Do, Just Leave Me Alone” was declared the winner.
“I did what?” said Marsh after being asked how it felt to have his motto selected by the voters, “I write that on a lot of requests from other representatives, they are always sending me pointless crap.”
Vermonters seem to be more or less indifferent about the result. “There was a what?” said Montpelier resident Jeff Rice who was present during Thursday’s press briefing announcing the referendum’s result, “I thought this was the line to pay parking tickets.”
“It’s not what I expected but the people have spoken” Torres said at the press briefing. She also commented that more surprising than the result was that none of the other legislators’ proposed mottos finished in the top five. “My staff and I wanted the people to have a say if they didn’t agree with any of the representatives’ mottos so we left a line blank for write-ins. We’re not sure if people realized they were responding to a referendum though because we had a lot of non sequiturs.”
The second through fifth place finishers were: “I don’t care”, “Who is this?”, “UNSUBSCRIBE”, and “How did you find me?”