(ReclaimingAmerica.net) – The Vermont state Supreme Court has ruled that noncitizen residents can continue to vote in municipal elections in the state capital of Montpelier.
The decision upheld a lower court ruling and stated that such voting in local elections does not violate the state Constitution.
In 2021, the Democrat-controlled Vermont Legislature approved two separate bills to change the municipal charters of Montpelier and Winooski, the most diverse community in the state, to allow legal residents who are not U.S. citizens to vote in local elections. Republican Governor Phil Scott vetoed the measures, but the Legislature overrode his vetoes.
The Republican National Committee filed lawsuits against the two Vermont cities asking judges to declare noncitizen voting unconstitutional but lost those challenges.
Federal law prohibits noncitizens from voting in federal elections, including races for president, vice president, Senate, or House of Representatives.
Montpelier and Winooski are among more than a dozen communities in a handful of states, including New York City and several towns in Maryland, that allow noncitizens to vote in local elections.
Seven states, including Ohio, have measures banning noncitizen voting in local elections, according to the group Americans for Citizen Voting.
Voting was expanded to noncitizens in the two Vermont communities after local voters approved the moves, proponents said.
In November of 2018, voters in Montpelier, a city of about 8,000 residents, approved seeking a charter change to allow non-U.S. citizens to vote in municipal elections. Voters supported the measure by nearly a two-to-one margin, said Montpelier City Council President Jack McCullough. According to the city manager, the city currently has nine registered noncitizen voters.
“We are gratified that our choice to welcome participation by all members of our community has been upheld by the Supreme Court,” said McCullough. “Our Declaration of Independence says that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and I believe that includes all our residents. I hope this will encourage more eligible voters to register, vote, and fully participate in our democratic institutions.”
In Winooski, a city of about 7,300 that is home to immigrants from around the world, 55 noncitizens voted on local issues during the state’s annual Town Meeting Day in March 2022.
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BREAKING: The Vermont Supreme Court just ruled that non-citizens CAN VOTE in our elections.
We cannot stand by and allow the Democrats to further erode our election safeguards.
The #ElectionIntegrityCaucus will work to pass legislation BANNING non-citizens from voting.
— Rep. Claudia Tenney (@RepTenney) January 23, 2023