Non-citizen voting advances in the biggest city in deep blue Vermont
Vermont's largest city is reviving a bid to permit non-citizens to vote in local elections, the latest in a small but persistent effort in some of the nation's most politically progressive corners to give immigrants the franchise.
The Burlington City Council vote this week was 10-2 in favor of changing the city's charter. The principal sponsor of the change, Democrat Adam Roof, told WCAX that the goal "is to create a more inclusive and engaged community, which is critical because we know that broad participation in the democratic process strengthens the entirety of the community."
Kurt Wright, a Republican, opposed the proposal as inconsistent with American tradition and noted the city's voters had rejected a similar effort several years ago.
The proposal now goes to the Democratic-majority state Legislature, which has already endorsed a similar measure for Montpelier, the capital. But Republican Gov. Phil Scott is considering a veto on the grounds it could violate some aspects of state law.
Burlington, where Sen. Bernie Sanders got his political start as the mayor, has a population of 42,000 plus the 10,000 students at the University of Vermont.
It would be the biggest municipality in the country with non-citizen voting for all city officials. Many of the other places are liberal Maryland suburbs of Washington. Board of education contests in Chicago and San Francisco are open to all adults who live in those cities, on the theory that immigrants with kids in the schools should have a say in how they're run.
But this sliver of a trend runs counter to the overwhelming sentiment against expanding the rights of immigrants that permeates much of the country.
Marginal improvements have been made to help voters understand the questions posed to them on the ballot this November, a new study concludes, but such ballot measures still favor the college-educated — who represent a minority of the U.S. population.
This year voters in eight states will decide the fate of a collective 36 such propositions. In a study released Thursday, Ballotpedia assessed how easy it is to comprehend what each proposal would accomplish, concluding that the difficulty level had decreased compared with the referendums decided in the last off-year election of 2017 — but not by much.
In fact, according to a pair of well-established tests, 21 of the 36 ballot measures cannot be understood by the 40 percent of the voting-age population who never attended college.
Colorado has become the second state to ask the Supreme Court to decide if states may legally bind their presidential electors to vote for the candidate who carried their state.
The issue of so-called faithless electors is the latest aspect of an increasingly heated debate about the virtues and flaws of the Electoral College that has blossomed, especially among progressive democracy reform advocates, now that two of the past five presidential winners (Donald Trump in 2016 and George W. Bush in 2000) got to the Oval Office despite losing the national popular vote.