Roper: A tale of two cities and noncitizen voting

By Rob Roper

This year the Vermont Legislature is contemplating charter changes in two Vermont cities, Montpelier and Winooski, that would allow noncitizens to vote in local elections. The Montpelier charter change passed the House with little difficulty, 103-39. One expected Winooski, with this precedent set, to sail through as well. But it didn’t. There’s a catch — one that should also inspire some second thoughts about Montpelier as that bill goes to the Senate.

Rob Roper is the president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

The Vermont Constitution states regarding a voter’s qualifications, “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.” (Emphasis added.)

This means, or at least is being interpreted to mean, municipal elections are not covered by the citizenship requirement being separate from “state” matters. And here’s the catch: We in Vermont have a state property tax to fund education, in which local decisions in one municipality impact the taxes paid in other municipalities. Ergo, noncitizens are, or should be, constitutionally barred from voting on school budgets.

The city municipality that is Montpelier happens to be part of a larger municipality that is the Montpelier Roxbury School District. Noncitizens voting in the city of Montpelier municipal elections would not get a ballot with school budget matters on it, so no problem. But Winooski the city and the Winooski School District are the same thing, so noncitizens voting in Winooski would get ballots dealing with school board matters — and that appears to be a no-no.

Debate over this technicality on the virtual House floor led several legislators who voted in favor of the Montpelier charter change to express an unwillingness to also vote for the Winooski charter change. The debate also led to discussions of whether or not municipal votes on things like road maintenance that could impact state spending should also be considered in regard to the state constitutional provision. At the end of all this debate the Winooski charter change bill was pulled from the floor and sent to the House Education Committee for further review.

RELATED: Controversial bill could allow newly arrived noncitizens to vote instantly in Winooski elections

So, here are a couple of observations.

First, the Vermont Constitution is clear that voting is a right of citizenship. That Vermont is a “Dillon’s Rule” state, meaning the municipalities are a creation of and subject to direction of the state (hence the need for this charter change legislation), one would think that the state constitution would be binding on municipalities. I’m not a lawyer, but this seems obvious to me.

Second, if we grant for the sake of argument that the Vermont Constitution would allow noncitizens to vote in municipal elections, it seems arbitrary and unfair that noncitizens living in town/city municipalities that share boundaries with school district municipalities would be barred from voting on local issues, while those who happen to live in town/city municipalities that don’t align directly with their school districts could vote on local issues. This is a can of worms that, quite frankly, should not be opened.

United States citizenship comes with responsibilities, such as the potential for compulsory military service, as well as rights, such as voting. While we welcome legal immigrants to our nation and our state, and encourage them to pursue citizenship through the legal process, the right to vote should remain an incentive to pursue citizenship and a reward for doing so. As my grandmother used to warn, why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free?

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of TNR

4 thoughts on “Roper: A tale of two cities and noncitizen voting

  1. Voting is a right for citizens. If we want to expand voting rights I think Vermont citizen property owners should have the right to vote in all the cities and towns where they own property. Property owners fund the budgets. Property owners have taxation without representation.

  2. Here you go. I think Winooski would be perfect for them! What do you think?

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  3. Why would a Legislator even bother to raise such slippery issues?
    Do we not have enough what decides us?
    Why add to it?
    What are the gains for CITIZENS, who are the vast major in the state?

    Are there not more pressing issues regarding election matters, such as CLEANING UP VOTER ROLLS?

    Over the years a lot of loose-goosy voting rules and regulations have been implemented that should be revisited.

    Here are some examples.


    Dem/Progs likely know:

    – Illegals, with and without documents, are not allowed to vote, per US Constitution.
    – Legal US residents with green cards (who are not citizens), are also not allowed to vote, per US Constitution.

    Dem/Progs aim to have every one, dead or alive, a la Tracy Adams in Georgia. To make that happen, Dem/Progs in Georgia, or any other state, want “inclusive” registered voter lists.

    Anecdote, i.e., my personal experience

    An “unlikely” voter shows up to vote, in person.
    Poll worker: You already voted.
    Voter: How could that be! I never received a ballot?
    Poll worker: Let me see. Our records show you did. OK, here is a spare ballot. Please sign this affidavit, (to “classify” me for the next time)

    Purging Registered Voter Lists

    Vermont Secretary of State Condos, and his counterparts in other states, should focus on cleaning up their registered voter lists and rectify their loose-goosy, permissive, voting “requirements”, instead of using them as election weapons to flout the will of the people.

    Manipulating voter lists provides corrupt election officials more names to “play” with, to enhance Dem/Prog power and command/control.

    Secretaries of State and Dem/Prog legislators do not want to keep “their weapons” by:

    1) Not deleting dead people
    2) Not deleting people who moved to another state
    3) Enabling non-citizens and illegal aliens to vote
    4) Enabling temporary residents to vote, even if they would reside less time in state than required by law. That requirement should be at least one year to avoid shenanigans
    5) Enabling convicted felons to vote (in jail, on parole, or not)
    6) Enabling under-age people to vote
    7) Enabling feeble-minded people in nursing homes to “vote”, by “proxies” filling in their ballots, without telling them; the epidemy of “absentee” voting.
    8) Enabling out-of-state /foreign students, citizen or not, to vote. They should vote in their own state/country at all times, no excuse.
    9) Enabling “motor-voting” to all comers, documented or not.
    10) Enabling ballot drop off boxes that are unsupervised 24/7, not monitored by video, a major fraud opportunity. A continuity of custody issue.
    11) Enabling indiscriminate mail-in voting (taking advantage of COVID conditions), a major fraud opportunity, as President Carter predicted a few decades ago, and was proven in 2020.
    12 Placing in service Dominion, etc., voting machines that are:

    1) Programmable, i.e., they automatically switch votes from unfavored to favored candidates, as demonstrated on videos.
    2) Wirelessly connected to state-owned servers, enabling the:

    – Observation of real-time counting by official state entities. Unofficial entities can observe by hacking those servers.
    – Sharing of real-time counting with US and foreign media for their election coverage.
    – The active “participation” by foreign actors, such as China, etc.

    Counting Abuses

    In Democrat-run Vermont cities and towns, feeding fake ballots (stuffing the ballot box) is a common practice, as is feeding the same ballot multiple times. Poll workers talk, but almost never in public for fear of retaliation.

    In Georgia counting centers, such fake ballots and multiple-feeding was recorded, on surveillance videos, unbeknownst to counting folks. Remarkably, not one perpetrator was even arrested!!! As ordained by Dem/Progs, Trump lost Georgia.

    Unfavorable Counting Trends

    If counting trends are unfavorable, due to unforeseen, landslide-voting for a disfavored candidate, election officials in Dem/Prog-run cities:

    1) Merely stop the counting to reassess the situation (with supporting comments from the Dem/Prog-controlled Media)

    2) Get additional filled-in “mail-in” ballots, in envelopes or not, from undisclosed storage areas (as revealed by counting spikes shown on TV, etc.)

    3) Run the same ballots through counting machines multiple times during off-hours, with no observers (on surveillance video in Georgia), and during regular hours, with observers far away from the actual counting, and with blanked-off windows to preclude observation by anyone else.

    NOTE: The Legislature of New Hampshire became Republican, because the activist “student vote” was absent.
    They likely voted in their own states as well; “every vote counts”.

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