MONTPELIER – On Thursday, the Vermont Senate voted to override Governor Phil Scott’s vetoes of two bills that will allow non-citizens to vote in local elections in Montpelier and Winooski.
It was a 20 to 10 vote on both bills, just enough to secure the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto from the Governor. The Vermont House voted to override the vetoes on Wednesday.
“Today’s veto override votes continue Vermont’s track record supporting strong citizen engagement, and uphold the tradition of local control in our towns and cities,” said Senate President Pro Tem Becca Balint.
“Montpelier and Winooski used our legal charter change process,” said Sen. Jeanette White. “Their changes were constitutional, followed legal procedures, and were overwhelmingly adopted by their town residents.”
Under the charter changes, non-citizen residents in Montpelier and Winooski can vote in city and school elections, but not state or federal ones. Non-citizen residents can also run for local office.
Winooski State Reps Hal Colston and Taylor Small said it’s an important step for the Onion City.
“This is the local control that Vermont champions,” Colston said. “This is the local democracy that other states covet.”
“Together, we create the advantageous diversity our community has celebrated for almost 100 years, regardless of citizenship status,” Small said.
The Senate also passed a bill to improve health and safety for renters in Vermont. The bill creates a new statewide registry and inspection system for rental properties.
As the veto session wraps up, the Legislature ultimately chose not to take action on S.107, a bill that would have allowed young adults up to age 20 to avoid having arrests or criminal records released to the public.