Burlington residents to use ranked-choice voting in special election

Published: Dec. 5, 2022 at 4:58 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Some Burlington residents will head to the polls Tuesday to vote in a special election, and they will be using ranked-choice voting, the first time the city has used this method in more than a decade.

Residents in the east district covering wards 1 and 8 will be electing a city councilor to fill a vacancy on the City Council.

Last year, voters approved a charter change to use ranked-choice voting in council elections.

This is the first election since the change was ratified by the Legislature.

The city used ranked-choice voting for two mayoral races in the 2000s but then repealed the system in 2010.

Voters have the choice to rank the three candidates on the ballot in order of their preference.

“If one candidate wins 50% of the vote or more that candidate then wins. But if that’s not the case, the candidate with the least votes gets dropped, and whoever voted for that person as number one gets their votes switched to whoever they voted for number two,” said Bert Johnson, a Middlebury College political scientist.

One reason the city dropped ranked-choice before is that it was confusing to voters.

Anyone voting Tuesday is reminded to read the ballot instructions carefully.