Voting Legislation Receives House Endorsement

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(HOST) Legislation that would allow the use of instant run-off voting in next year’s mayoral race in Burlington received an endorsement in the House on Tuesday. The new voting process was part of a package of charter changes adopted by Burlington voters on Town Meeting Day.

IRV allows voters to list their first, second and third choices and it’s used only if no candidate receives a majority of votes cast. If no candidate receives Fifty percent of the vote, the candidates with the lowest vote totals are eliminated and the second choice preferences of their supporters are tabulated until one candidate emerges with a majority.

The House Government Operations committee unanimously supported the provision. Milton Representative Doran Metzger explained why.

(Metzger) “The committee had diverse opinions on the merits or lack thereof of IRV. But what we had for a consensus was the fact that Burlington voters and Burlington voters alone will be subject to the consequences of this proposal, whether they be good or bad. It’s a local control issue.”

(HOST)Newport Representative Duncan Kilmartin opposed the plan because he said it was too complicated for some voters to understand

(Kilmartin)”Isn’t it our responsibility to make sure that the elderly voter, the blind voter can understand – palpably understand the consequences of ranking the candidates in the order of the voter’s particular preference.”

(HOST) The measure will come up for final approval in the House on Wednesday afternoon.

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