Editor’s note: Roll Call is published by the Ethan Allen Institute.
H.227, an act relating to approval of amendments to the charter of the city of Winooski, passed in the state Senate on June 24, 2021, by a vote of 20-10.
The purpose of the vote was to override Governor Scott’s veto of H.227, which amended the charter of the City of Winooski to allow non-citizens who are legally in the United States and full-time residents of the city to vote in city elections.
Analysis: Those voting YES assert that non-citizens pay taxes, have children in the schools, and are active participants in the community, therefore they deserve the right to vote on issues that affect them.
Those voting NO assert that voting is a right and responsibility tied to citizenship, and that giving this privilege to non-citizens unfairly undermines the votes of actual citizens. They raise concerns that this will set a precedent for other towns to follow, and note that this is unconstitutional.
The Vermont Constitution states (emphasis added): “QUALIFICATIONS OF FREEMEN AND FREEWOMEN, § 42. [VOTER’S QUALIFICATIONS AND OATH] Every person of the full age of eighteen years who is a citizen of the United States, having resided in this State for the period established by the General Assembly and who is of a quiet and peaceable behavior, and will take the following oath or affirmation, shall be entitled to all the privileges of a voter of this state:…”
As recorded in the Senate Journal, Wednesday, May 7, 2021: “Shall the bill pass, notwithstanding the refusal of the Governor to approve it?, was decided in the affirmative on a roll call required by the Vermont Constitution, Yeas 20, Nays 10. (the necessary override two-thirds vote having been attained).” (Read the Journal, p. 1452).
How they voted
Becca Balint (D-Windham) – YES
Philip Baruth (D-Chittenden) – YES
Joseph Benning (R-Caledonia) – NO
Christopher Bray (D-Addison) – YES
Randy Brock (R-Franklin) – NO
Brian Campion (D-Bennington) – YES
Thomas Chittenden (D-Chittenden) – YES
Alison Clarkson (D-Windsor) – YES
Brian Collamore (R-Rutland) – NO
Ann Cummings (D-Washington) – YES
Ruth Hardy (D-Addison) – YES
Cheryl Hooker (D-Rutland) – YES
Russ Ingalls (R-Essex-Orleans) – NO
M. Jane Kitchel (D-Caledonia) – YES
Virginia Lyons (D-Chittenden) – YES
Mark MacDonald (D-Orange) – YES
Richard Mazza (D-Chittenden-Grand Isle) – NO
Richard McCormack (D-Windsor) – YES
Alice Nitka (D-Windsor District) – NO
Corey Parent (R-Franklin) – NO
Chris Pearson (P-Chittenden) – YES
Andrew Perchlik (D-Washington) – YES
Anthony Pollina (P/D-Washington) – YES
Kesha Ram (D-Chittenden) – YES
Richard Sears (D-Bennington) – YES
Michael Sirotkin (D-Chittenden) – YES
Robert Starr (D-Essex-Orleans) – NO
Joshua Terenzini (R-Rutland) – NO
Richard Westman (R-Lamoille) – NO
Jeanette White (D-Windham) – YES