Noncitizen voting moves forward in Montpelier

Published: Apr. 18, 2019 at 4:27 PM EDT
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Noncitizen voting is moving ahead in Montpelier.

The Vermont House approved a charter change for the city's local elections. The House voted 95-46 Thursday in favor of the city's request.

Montpelier voters already approved the idea on Town Meeting Day.

If the change clears the Senate and is signed into law, it will allow legal residents who are not U.S. citizens to vote in city elections.

Some House members argued citizenship should remain a prerequisite for voting at any level of government. Others argued it would encourage more participation.

Gov. Phil Scott isn't sold on the idea.

Montpelier Rep. Warren Kitzmiller says a Norwegian citizen spoke to him about wanting to vote in Montpelier without giving up Norwegian citizenship.

"She says she loves everything about life in Montpelier except there's this hurt that she can't vote," said Kitzmiller, D-Montpelier.

"I have a lot of questions about how that's even put into place," said Scott, R-Vermont.

The governor says he thinks the charter might violate a state law that prevents any database of noncitizens.