Scott vetoes noncitizen voting on local matters in 2 cities

June 2, 2021 GMT

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Gov. Phil Scott has vetoed two bills that would have approved charter amendments in Montpelier and Winooski to allow noncitizen residents to vote in their local elections, saying while well-intentioned the measures would lead to inconsistency in election policy.

Scott wrote in his veto letter on Tuesday that the “important policy discussion” needs more consideration.

House Speaker Jill Krowinski said in response that the Legislature is returning at the end of June and feels strongly that this veto must be addressed “to recognize and honor the voices of the citizens of Montpelier and Winooski.”

“The voters of Montpelier and Winooski deliberated and made the decision to expand voting to members of their communities that did not fit the current voter access requirements,” she said in a written statement. “The legislature did their due diligence, recognizing and respecting those decisions, by debating and approving both of these charter changes, which expand access to voting only in local elections.”

Scott said that allowing town-by-town approach creates inconsistency and a “separate and unequal classes of residents potentially eligible to vote on local issues” and asked the Legislature to revisit the topic and develop a statewide policy or uniform process for municipalities wishing to do so to grant the voting right in local elections “to all legal residents.”

Krowinski said while she can appreciate the governor’s desire to have a statewide framework, “it’s is also important for us to recognize the unique needs of our individual communities and their right to shape the future of local elections as the majority of their voters see fit.”