In a 20-10 vote, Vermont Democrats just barely achieved the two-thirds majority needed to override the governor’s veto of two separate bills – securing the House’s successful override vote Wednesday.
Legal resident noncitizens in the cities of Montpelier and Winooski will now be able to vote in municipal elections.
The Vermont legislature originally voted to permit the town charter amendments in early May, before Scott vetoed the bills on June 1.
“Allowing a highly variable town-by-town approach to municipal voting creates inconsistency in election policy, as well as separate and unequal classes of residents potentially eligible to vote on local issues,” the Vermont governor said in a letter to state legislators earlier this month.
Legal resident noncitizens are individuals who are federally allowed to be living in the U.S. but are not legal citizens. They are not allowed to vote in federal elections.
Advocates for expanding the voting pool to noncitizens believe it will “enfranchise” local members of the communities.
“Today’s veto override votes continue Vermont’s track record supporting strong citizen engagement, and uphold the tradition of local control in our towns and cities,” Democrat Senate President Pro Tempore Becca Balint said in a statement Thursday.
Montpelier became the first municipality in Vermont to vote, by a tally of 2,857-1,488, in favor of noncitizen voting on Nov. 6, 2018.
By Nov. 3, 2020, Winooski residents voted to allow noncitizens the right to vote in city and school district elections in a 2,479-999 vote.
These residents will also be able to run for local office.
Winooski reported in 2017 that 10 percent of the city’s voting-age residents were not U.S. citizens, while another eight percent were naturalized and becoming U.S. citizens.
Fox News could not immediately reach Vermont GOP leadership for comment.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.