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Vermont Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Noncitizen Voting

The fire station, left, and City Hall are seen in Montpelier, Vt., June 7, 2011. AP
The fire station, left, and City Hall are seen in Montpelier, Vt., June 7, 2011. AP

Noncitizen residents may continue to vote in municipal elections in Vermont’s capital city of Montpelier, the state Supreme Court ruled Friday, stating that such voting in local elections doesn’t violate the state constitution.

In its decision on an appeal the higher court upheld a lower court ruling, dismissing the claim.

“The statute allowing noncitizens to vote in local Montpelier elections does not violate Chapter II, § 42 because that constitutional provision does not apply to local elections,” the Supreme Court wrote.

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 Gov. 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 and lost those challenges. Federal law prohibits noncitizens from voting in federal elections, including races for president, vice president, Senate or House of Representatives.

Related Story: New Route for Illegal Entry into U.S.: Vermont

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