The city of Winooski, Vermont, may face steep legal pressure after it announced that it would allow non-citizens to vote in school board elections. The National Republican Committee (RNC) and the state GOP announced that they would challenge the city in court.
The city announced that it would allow non-citizens to vote on important matters.
The GOP is not taking the matter lightly, suing the city over the decision.
We won a massive lawsuit against New York City last year over this same issue.
American elections should be decided by American citizens – full stop.
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) March 9, 2023
The national GOP brought litigation on the matter once before. In a case before the Vermont Supreme Court, the RNC lost its request to find non-citizen voting unconstitutional.
The court rejected the Republican lawsuit because the Vermont Constitution does not specifically keep non-citizens from voting in local elections. However, the court stated that voting in federal and state elections required citizenship.
It is this ruling that may give the national Republicans more legal ground to stand on. The party is arguing that since voting on non-citizens could have impacts on state funding, it would be unconstitutional.
The city’s residents voted in 2020 to allow non-citizens to be able to vote. This followed the voters of the state’s capital, Montpelier, in 2018.
These two actions were upheld by the state legislature, which is dominated by Democrats. The legislature allowed for the changes to occur, overriding a veto by Gov. Phil Scott (R-VT).
The state’s largest city, Burlington, recently announced that it would also seek to allow non-citizen voting. The city, of which Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was mayor, has approved a measure requesting that the state legislature change its city’s charter to allow for such voting. This may add further pressure on the RNC to seek immediate remedy.
Vermont cities are not the only ones that have sought to allow non-American citizens to vote. This includes a measure by the District of Columbia City Council to allow non-citizens to vote in local elections. The Senate is currently considering whether to overturn the D.C. City Council’s vote.
The New York Supreme Court ruled in 2022 that a law allowing non-citizens to vote in New York City was unconstitutional.