By Jenny Rizzo
Key Quote: Governor Howard Dean said "I think it
should be I.R.V., instant runoff voting, because I think it's the
cheapest and it makes the most sense, but that's going to be up to
the legislature. I'm not going to be around to influence that
Although Jim Douglas will be Vermont's next governor,
it won't be official until the legislature votes him in this
January, because he didn't get to the 50.1 percent level.
The unique circumstances of this past election are
prompting lawmakers to re-examine the state's constitution.
Apparent Governor Elect Jim Douglas said, "The
Constitution itself has what's called a 'time lock.' There are only
certain years in which an amendment can be proposed and 2003 is one
Some lawmakers think this past election is proof of
why the Constitution needs to change.
Democrat Dick Sears, of Bennington, said "This
election that we just saw is going to be similar to future elections
where we have strong either third party candidates or strong
Vermont and Mississippi are the only two states in the
nation, with this 50% majority requirement.
If lawmakers really want to change this rule, they
will need to amend the Constitution, and that could take almost 10
There are plenty of options to debate before a switch
can be made.
Douglas said, "I think the plurality rule that
prevails in 48 states is probably the model to look at and I would
suggest the committee examine them all, but that's my preference."
Governor Howard Dean said "I think it should be I.R.V., instant
runoff voting, because I think it's the cheapest and it makes the
most sense, but that's going to be up to the legislature. I'm not
going to be around to influence that debate."
Jim Douglas will be around however, and his election
will serve as a reminder of how close 2002's races really were.