Lawsuit filed by the Republican National Committee, the Vermont Republican Party and Vermont voters challenging a statute that authorizes noncitizens in Winooski, Vermont, to vote on referendums involving the city’s school board and education budget as well as in municipal elections. This is the second Republican lawsuit filed over the city’s noncitizen voting statute. The first was dismissed after a similar law in Montpelier — which was also challenged by Republicans — was upheld by the Vermont Supreme Court as being compliant with the state constitution. Notably, the Montpelier statute that was upheld earlier this year only allows noncitizens to vote in local elections, as opposed to the Winooski statute which allows noncitizens to vote in both local elections and in referendums on the city’s education budget and school board.
The plaintiffs in this new lawsuit in Winooski allege that because the Vermont Supreme Court’s ruling only involved authorizing noncitizens to vote in certain local elections, the portion of the challenged Winooski statute that also allows noncitizens to vote in matters pertaining to the education budget — which is funded by Vermont’s broader statewide budget — violates the Vermont Constitution. The plaintiffs specifically contend that elections involving “school budget issues clearly have statewide implications and are thus reserved for United States citizens alone.” The complaint further asserts that the plaintiffs “will have their votes diluted by the noncitizen votes made possible by Winooski’s charter change.” The plaintiffs ask the court to block Winooski’s authorization of noncitizen voting as it applies to “any election that determines school board members or education funding” and to declare that said authorization violates the state Constitution.