Republicans are suing the town of Winooski, Vermont, in a desperate attempt to fight back against a local ordinance and stop foreign nationals from voting in local elections.
That legal battle is necessary because Winooski passed a local ordinance last year that allows foreign nationals to vote in the town’s election, including the local elections for mayor, city offices, and school board races. Breitbart, reporting about that woke initiative at the time, wrote:
A pair of Vermont towns are ready for their first local elections where foreign nationals will be allowed to vote, even offering ballots in foreign languages.
Montpelier, the state’s capital, and Winooski, located just outside of Burlington, are set to hold local elections where, for the first time, foreign nationals will be able to vote. In Montpelier, city officials said one foreign national has registered to vote while about eight foreign nationals have registered in Winooski.
In addition, Winooski is ensuring that non-English speaking foreign nationals have ballots in their native languages and is doing community outreach to get as many foreign nationals registered to vote as possible.
Now Republicans are suing to stop that ordinance, first saying in the complaint that:
Plaintiffs, who include Vermont voters residing in the City of Winooski and other interested election participants, file this Complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief against the City of Winooski. Plaintiffs seek a declaration that authorization of noncitizen voting on matters involving the City of Winooski’s school board and education budget is unconstitutional and void. That authorization, set forth in a new charter statute for the City of Winooski, permits “any person, including persons who are non-U.S. citizens,” to vote on referendums regarding the City’s annual education budget if they are a resident of the City and over 18 years of age. 24 App. V.S.A. § 19.202(b). Critically, the City’s annual education budget is paid for from the State Education Fund. See 16 V.S.A. Chapter 133. The new charter statute also allows noncitizens to vote for school board members, who are responsible for creating the City’s State-funded annual education budget.
Permitting noncitizens to vote on these issues violates the Vermont Constitution. Chapter II, Section 42 of the Vermont Constitution establishes United States citizenship as a requirement for voting on “freemen” issues, which include “any matter that concerns the State of Vermont.” Plaintiffs seek an injunction compelling Defendant to refrain from implementing the invalid voting scheme, including refraining from registering noncitizen voters to participate in education-related elections and referendums in the City of Winooski.
In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs also argue that the issues at stake are ones that only citizens should have a hand in, saying:
School budgets and school funding in Vermont are statewide, freeman issues. Since the landmark decision in Brigham v. State, 166 Vt. 246 at 249 (1997), Vermont has equalized school funding across the state through a statewide funding system. As a result, votes regarding local school budgets impact the state budget and thus the financial interests of Vermonters statewide. Once a school budget is approved by local voters, paying for it becomes the responsibility of the State through the State Education Fund.
Defendant has now expanded the electorate that determines educational issues to include noncitizens, despite the fact that those votes have substantial extra-municipal and statewide implications and thus directly implicate Section 42’s limitation of the franchise to United States citizens.
Further, they argue that American citizens “will have their votes diluted by the noncitizen votes…” and that “The RNC and VTGOP also anticipate having to expend additional resources on ‘get out the vote’ and other election efforts and for recruiting and supporting candidates who will have to contend with an expanded voter pool that includes unconstitutional noncitizen votes in elections for the school board and with respect to the education budget.”
We’ll see if the suit succeeds. Winooski has previously been sued over the ordinance and the plaintiffs lost, with the state’s supreme court ruling that it was within the scope of the Vermont Constitution to open voting rights to foreign nationals.
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