Government, Politics

Vermont Court Shocks: Non-Citizens Can Now Vote

The Vermont Supreme Court on Friday ruled that the city of Montpelier didn’t violate the state constitution by allowing foreign nationals to vote in municipal elections.

The lawsuit stemmed from a 2018 amendment to Montpelier’s charter, which permits “noncitizen voters” to “register to vote in Montpelier City elections.” The amendment was placed on that year’s general election ballot and approved by voters.

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican, vetoed the General Assembly’s authorization of the changes in June 2021, only to have his veto overridden.

Since its adoption in 1777, Chapter II, Section 42 of the Vermont Constitution has been listing U.S. citizenship as a requirement one must meet to be entitled to “the privileges of a voter in this state.” Friday’s decision (pdf), however, said legal precedent and a close reading of the provision proved that local elections can have different voter qualifications from statewide elections. Read more…

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