Cites Supreme Court prohibition of non-citizens voting on statewide issues
By Guy Page
The Republican National Committee (RNC), Vermont Republican Party (VTGOP), and two concerned Vermont residents filed suit in Vermont Superior Court today against the City of Winooski for allowing noncitizens to vote in its school board and budget elections.
The suit follows a Jan. 23 Vermont Supreme Court rejection of a previous GOP non-citizen voting lawsuit against Winooski. Today’s suit charges that non-citizen voting in municipal elections will affect state spending and policy decisions – an outcome the VSC declared unlawful in its court decision.
The lawsuit, filed this morning, reads:
“Plaintiffs seek a declaration that authorization of noncitizen voting on matters involving the City of Winooski’s school board and education budget is unconstitutional and void. That authorization, set forth in a new charter statute for the City of Winooski, permits “any person, including persons who are non-U.S. citizens,” to vote on referendums regarding the City’s annual education budget if they are a resident of the City and over 18 years of age.
“Critically, the City’s annual education budget is paid for from the State Education Fund. The new charter statute also allows noncitizens to vote for school board members, who are responsible for creating the City’s State-funded annual education budget.
“Permitting noncitizens to vote on these issues violates the Vermont Constitution. Chapter II, Section 42 establishes United States citizenship as a requirement for voting on “freemen” issues, which include “any matter that concerns the State of Vermont.” Plaintiffs seek an injunction compelling Defendant to refrain from implementing the invalid voting scheme, including refraining from registering noncitizen voters to participate in education-related elections and referendums in the City of Winooski.”
Background (provided by the RNC):
- In June 2022, the RNC sued New York City and won, halting a law that would have allowed 800,000 noncitizens to vote in New York City elections.
- Winooski, Vermont’s local charter violates the Vermont Constitution, which limits voting on statewide matters to only citizens.
- The RNC previously sued Winooski and Montpelier for noncitizen voting laws on a much broader basis, which was not accepted by the Vermont Supreme Court.
- The court ruled that the Vermont Constitution did not categorically bar noncitizens from voting in municipal elections, but did find that votes on matters with statewide implications would require United States citizenship.
- Specifically, the RNC’s lawsuit explains how the town’s school board and budget elections are conducted locally, but are of statewide concern.
- In short, Winooski is allowing noncitizens to vote on the annual education budget that is funded directly through state expenditures.
- The amount of funds approved by Winooski voters has a direct impact on taxpayers across the state.
- This lawsuit is a continuation of the RNC’s robust election integrity efforts, which resulted in 80,000 trained poll watchers and workers along with over 90 election integrity lawsuits nationwide in the 2022 midterm cycle.
- In addition to the New York City win, the RNC has recently won key legal election victories in Wisconsin, New York, North Carolina, Nevada, and Pennsylvania.
“American elections should only be decided by American citizens in Vermont and nationwide. This lawsuit is a continuation of the RNC’s fight to protect the vote and ensure that the franchise is only extended to citizens of this country. We won a lawsuit against New York City on this same issue last year, and we are fighting for another victory on behalf of election integrity and Vermont voters,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said.
Winooski has been a Vermont landing ground for immigrants since the successive waves of 19th century Irish, Italian and French-Canadian migrations. In more recent years, the City of Winooski has adopted a ‘welcoming’ posture to immigrants from all over the world, often referring to them as “New Americans” irrespective of citizenship status.