Republicans have filed a lawsuit against a city in Vermont to block the local ordinance from allowing foreign nationals to vote in municipal elections.
The small city of Winooski began allowing foreign nationals the ability to vote in local elections last year.
The move includes elections for the mayor, city officials, and school board races.
Now, the Vermont Republican Party, the Republican National Committee (RNC), and two residents have filed suit against the city of Winooski.
The lawsuit charges that it is illegal for foreign nationals to vote in local elections.
Specifically, the suit notes that in local school board elections should be limited to citizens because the funds appropriated for the board are financed by the state.
The lawsuit states:
School budgets and school funding in Vermont are statewide, freeman issues.
Since the landmark decision in Brigham v. State, 166 Vt. 246 at 249 (1997), Vermont has equalized school funding across the state through a statewide funding system.
As a result, votes regarding local school budgets impact the state budget and thus the financial interests of Vermonters statewide.
Once a school budget is approved by local voters, paying for it becomes the responsibility of the State through the State Education Fund.
Defendant has now expanded the electorate that determines educational issues to include noncitizens, despite the fact that those votes have substantial extra-municipal and statewide implications and thus directly implicate Section 42’s limitation of the franchise to United States citizens.
As a result of allowing foreign nationals to vote in Winooski, the RNC and Vermont GOP alleges that American citizen residents “will have their votes diluted by the noncitizen votes…”
“The RNC and VTGOP also anticipate having to expend additional resources on ‘get out the vote’ and other election efforts and for recruiting and supporting candidates who will have to contend with an expanded voter pool that includes unconstitutional noncitizen votes in elections for the school board and with respect to the education budget,” the lawsuit claims.
The groups had previously sued Winooski, as well as Montpelier, for allowing foreign nationals to vote in municipal elections.
The state’s supreme court stated that localities were within the scope of the Vermont Constitution in opening voting rights to foreign nationals.
Last week, voters in Burlington, Vermont, overwhelmingly approved a measure that will allow foreign nationals, including some illegal aliens, to vote in local elections.
The charter change now must be approved by the state legislature and Republican Gov. Phil Scott.
The case is Weston v. Winooski in the Chittenden County Superior Civil Court.