WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Tuesday, March 7, voters in Burlington, Vermont, the state’s largest city, approved an amendment to their city charter that would allow some noncitizens to vote in local elections. Under the proposal, noncitizens who are legal residents in the U.S. on a “permanent or non-temporary basis in compliance with federal immigration laws” will be able to register and vote in city elections. Voters approved the proposal with 7,143 voting in favor and 3,366 voting against.
Once enacted, Burlington will be the third municipality in Vermont to extend voting to noncitizens. Voters in Vermont’s capital, Montpelier, approved a similar amendment in 2018 and voters in Winooski, the state’s most diverse city, voted in favor of noncitizen voting in 2020. Both amendments were challenged by Republicans in court, and in January 2023 the Vermont Supreme Court ruled that extending voting to noncitizens does not violate the state constitution.
The charter amendment will have to be approved by the Vermont Legislature before going into effect; in 2021, the Legislature approved Montpelier and Winooski’s amendments over Gov. Phil Scott’s (R) veto.