Burlington, VT, Allows Non-Citizens to Vote

(RepublicanNews.org) – Burlington, Vermont, has joined two other cities in the state by allowing non-citizens who are in the U.S. legally to vote in local elections.

The state’s capital city, Montpelier, and the small city next door to Burlington, Winooski, are the two other cities that allow non-citizen voting in local elections.

Earlier the Republican National Committee filed suit against Montpelier and Winooski, arguing that it was against the state’s constitution. The Vermont Supreme Court disagreed, ruling in January that there was no constitutional violation.

The non-citizen voting privileges apply only to local elections. Federal law prohibits anyone but US citizens from voting in federal elections. These include elections for president, vice president, or candidates for the U.S. House or Senate.

On February 9th, two Winooski residents joined the Vermont Republican Party and the National Republican Committee to file a new suit against Winooski. The plaintiffs say it’s against the state constitution to allow non-citizens to vote on matters such as a city’s school board or education budget.

The voting results would change the city of Burlington’s charter, which means that the state legislature and the governor will have to give their approval. Given the past successes Montpelier and Winooski had, and given the overwhelming Democrat control of the Vermont House and Senate, it is nearly certain to get the blessing of lawmakers.

Republican Governor Phil Scott is highly likely to give his consent as well. Scott has a history of siding with the political left and Democrats to the consternation of many in his own party.

Non-citizen voting was only one of several measures Burlington voters cast their ballots on. Residents were also asked to decide if the city should have an independent board to oversee the city’s police department. While voters in the most progressive-left city wards were enthusiastic, voters overall gave a resounding “no.” The police control board was defeated by a 2-1 voter margin. 

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