Vt. lawmakers override vetoes on noncitizen voting

Published: Jun. 24, 2021 at 1:46 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 24, 2021 at 7:14 PM EDT
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermont Senate lawmakers have officially overridden two noncitizen voting vetoes from Gov. Phil Scott.

The vote was 20-10-- exactly a two-thirds majority. Legislative leaders say the vote was closer than they expected.

The pair of charter changes in Montpelier and Winooski are now law, meaning noncitizens can vote in local elections. But they still can’t vote in statewide or federal elections.

Lawmakers say they wanted to get the ball rolling on these charter changes now so the cities can prepare for the next election cycle.

They say Thursday’s vote wasn’t politically motivated.

“It was a close vote, we knew it would be. I’m feeling really proud that there was no grandstanding on the floor over politics. This was a policy issue that these towns had decided and we stood by them,” said Sen. Becca Balint, Vt. Senate President Pro Tem.

The House voted on Wednesday to override the veto 103-47.

Governor Scott originally vetoed the measure saying that he instead wanted a uniform statewide policy for noncitizen voting.

Lawmakers did not try to override the governor’s veto on a bill that would raise the age of releasing information of young offenders. Work on that will continue next session.

A sweeping rental housing bill passed as well. It gives loans and grants to renters and to landlords. And it creates a statewide rental registry for apartments and Airbnbs. The measure now heads to the governor’s desk. But he said earlier this week he has concerns with the bill. It’s not clear exactly how he will act but lawmakers tell me they’ve scheduled another session in October just in case they need to override another veto.

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