The Supreme Court of Vermont ruled Friday that noncitizens in the state’s capital city of Montpellier will be allowed to vote in local elections. The court ruled that noncitizens voting in municipal elections does not violate the state’s constitution, stating that citizenship requirements only apply to federal elections.

“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 New Hampshire Supreme Court wrote in its ruling.

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In 2018, the city of Montpellier voted to allow noncitizens to vote in citywide elections provided they were in the United States legally. The city of Winooski soon followed in 2020.

In 2021, the New Hampshire legislature approved the changes to both cities’ municipal charters. The Democrat-controlled chamber was able to do this despite a veto from Republican Governor Phil Scott.

In response, the Republican National Committee filed two lawsuits asking for the measures to be declared unconstitutional in both cities.

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A number of Democrat-controlled municipalities have passed laws allowing noncitizens to vote in municipal elections. The list includes San Francisco, a number of towns in Maryland, while additional blue strongholds such as Washington D.C. and Boston are pushing for similar laws.

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The city of New York initially voted to allow noncitizen voting, though New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio was hesitant to sign the legislation. New York’s Supreme Court ultimately struck down the NYC law last June, though advocates of the measure have stated that they will keep pushing.

At the federal level, House Democrats have pushed for an amendment that would remove citizenship requirements for voting in U.S. elections.

A handful of states, including Ohio and Louisiana, have banned noncitizen voting.

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This piece was written by Cullen McCue on January 26, 2023. It originally appeared in and is used by permission.

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