LEVERETT, Mass. (WWLP) – A new petition will come before voters on Saturday at the Leverett Annual Town Meeting.
The town of Leverett might be asking for legislative support to allow permanent non-citizen residents the ability to vote and much of the reason comes from one single woman.
In the Town of Leverett’s most recent warrant, Article 29 asks to see if the town will vote to petition the state legislature to grant non-citizen permanent residents the ability to vote in all Leverett Town meetings, elections, and actions and to serve on elected boards and committee’s.
This came about in no small part because of Gillian Cook, a British woman who has been living in Leverett for over 30 years who brought to the town’s attention that she feels she should have those rights.
“My children both went to the school, I was a member of the PTO, I pay property taxes. I’m a very involved member of the community but I couldn’t vote for members of the board or for town warrant articles,” said Cook.
After researching about how other communities have passed similar legislation, including Amherst and Northampton, Gillian initially went to Patricia Duffy who is on the Leverett Select Board to see if anything can be done.
“We’re gonna vote at town meeting and hopefully it will be a yay vote and then it’s gonna go to our Reps and that’s where it sits,” said Duffy.
Duffy told 22News this issue comes down to the old adage, taxation without representation.
“It’s basic democracy, you know. Taxation representation and, you know, I understand with the larger federal elections, that may be a harder sell but in our smaller towns that we enfranchise people,” said Duffy.
The town meeting in Leverett will be this Saturday and both Duffy and Cook say they’re optimistic the people of Leverett will vote to pass this through.