By Guy Page
In addition to vetoing the $8.5 billion state budget and the legislative pay increase, Gov. Phil Scott also has vetoed two proposed municipal charter changes that would allow non-citizens and minors to vote in local elections and hold local office.
H386 would allow 16-17 year olds to vote in municipal elections and hold local office. H509 would allow non-citizens to vote in local elections. A veto override session will be held June 20-22.
This isn’t the first time Gov. Scott has vetoed municipal charter changes allowing voting by 16-17 year olds (last year, Brattleboro) and non-citizens (Winooski, Montpelier in 2021).
Supporters of underage voting say it broadens citizen participation and gives young people a greater sense of citizenship and community investment. Critics say 16-17 olds lack the maturity and fiscal sense to cast votes on budgets, bonds, and community leadership, and sign contracts as elected officials. They also wonder why the Legislature believes youth are mature enough to vote and hold office but are too immature to own firearms, sign contracts,
Scott has said non-citizen voting should be allowed statewide or not at all.
This January, the Vermont Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the 2021 non-citizen voting charter changes, following a challenge by local residents and the national Republican Party.
The linked bill name, name and topic of the bill, and veto date appear below.
|S.39||Legislative pay/benefits increase, A/K/A Compensation and benefits for members of the Vermont General Assembly||5/31/2023|
|H.386||Underage voting, A/K/A Approval of amendments to the charter of the Town of Brattleboro||5/27/2023|
|H.494||2023-24 State Budget, A/K/A Making appropriations for the support of government||5/27/2023|
|H.509||Non-citizen voting, A/K/A Approval of amendments to the voter qualification provisions of the charter of the City of Burlington||5/27/2023|