Vermont City Council Gives Green Light to Non-Citizen Voting

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 14: A voter fills out a ballot for the 2018 Minnesota primary election at the Weisman Art Museum polling place on August 14, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Connecticut, Vermont and Wisconsin are also holding primaries today. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
Stephen Maturen/Getty

City council members in Burlington, Vermont, passed a resolution in a 10-2 vote on Monday, which would allow non-citizens to vote in local elections.

Councilman Adam Roof, who sponsored the resolution, argued that non-citizens are still residents of the city and should be allowed to vote regardless of whether or not they are U.S. citizens.

“The right to vote is more important now than ever before,” Roof told WCAX-TV. “All residents have the right, in my eyes, to participate in the local democratic process, and the highest level of participation in that process is being able to cast your vote.”

But not everyone on the council was supportive of the resolution. Council President Kurt Wright, one of the two council members to vote against the measure, said he voted against the resolution because he believes voting is a privilege reserved for American citizens.

“I think that’s important. I would not expect to move to another country and not become a citizen and expect to be voting in their elections,” said Wright, a Republican. “We voted on this just a few years ago and the citizens of Burlington voted significantly against it so I’m not supportive of this proposal.”

Burlington, which is the hometown of 2020 Democrat presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), is home to 42,000 people and is considered the largest city in Vermont, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.

It also hosts the University of Vermont, which hosts at least 10,000 undergraduate students.

The resolution needs approval from the state legislature before it can become law, the Associated Press reported.


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