by Ellie French, VT Digger, May 7th, 2021.
Sen. Kesha Ram, D-Chittenden, in introducing the bill, said Winooski is a city where this kind of change could actually make a big difference. Ten percent of Winooski residents have not attained citizenship. Another 8% are naturalized citizens.
Additionally, 42% of families in the Winooski school district are English language learners, “which may correlate somewhat to people who can’t participate in local school elections,” Ram said.
She also gave a brief history of all-resident voting in the United States. Until the beginning of the 20th century, when anti-immigrant sentiments began to rise, Ram said 22 states formally allowed noncitizen residents to vote. However, by 1926, it was banned in every U.S. state.
Now, she said, that tide is beginning to change as a small stream of municipalities have begun to pass laws to allow all residents to vote in local elections, including Chicago, San Francisco and some communities in Maryland.