Burlington ranked-choice voting measure moves forward

Published: Jul. 14, 2020 at 12:09 AM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) The Burlington City Council Monday voted in favor of ranked-choice voting and the charter change proposal is now headed to the Burlington mayor for approval.

The council voted 6-5 in favor of a resolution to change the way voters choose candidates.

Ranked-choice voting is the unconventional voting system where voters rank the candidates based on preference instead of voting for only one candidate. It was used for mayoral elections in Burlington between 2005 and 2010 before voters repealed it.

The Queen City's Progressive councilors have been pushing to bring it back since December, but it missed the deadline to be put on the March ballot. Now, they want to put it on the November ballot, but it's getting mixed reactions from residents.

"I feel like it's extremely important to have ranked-choice voting," Hannah Hausman said. "I definitely am pro it being on the ballot."

Former council member Kurt Wright lost the 2009 mayoral race using the ranked-choice system and has opposed efforts to bring it back.

"If you're going to do it, do it in March. Really should not be changing the election over and over on how we vote," Wright said. "This will have been changed two or three times in the last 10, 15 years."

If the question does make it to the ballot and voters approve it, it would then go to the Legislature for approval before the charter change could be implemented.