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Associated Press

Governor addresses Legislature vote
By Ross Sneyd
October 6, 2002

Excerpt:

'The governor said his preferred change would be to institute "instant runoff voting." Under that system, voters would rank their choices for governor in order and tabulators would use those rankings to determine who had the most support of Vermonters.'

Full Article:

Gov. Howard Dean jumped into the fray Friday over how his successor should be elected, calling on legislators to tell voters how they'll vote if the race is thrown into the Legislature.

Dean said he thinks voters would be angry if a candidate who won the most votes Election Day weren't elected governor or lieutenant governor by a joint session of the House and Senate.

There is that prospect because the Vermont Constitution gives the Legislature the responsibility for choosing a governor if no candidate wins more than 50 percent of the popular vote.

"I'll call on every legislative candidate to pledge they'll reveal their ballot," Dean said. "I think we're owed that as Vermonters."

There is a good possibility that lawmakers will have to determine the races for governor and lieutenant governor because there are three prominent candidates in each race.

The most recent polls show that none of them has support of anything close to 50 percent of the voters.

Dean faced the prospect of his own election's being thrown to the Legislature in 2000 when he ran against Republican Ruth Dwyer and Progressive Anthony Pollina.

That November he did urge just above the 50 percent threshold and was elected outright.

Even before the election, he was urging the Legislature to begin the process of amending the Constitution because he argued then that the state probably would face this question in statewide elections for years because the state offers public funding to gubernatorial and lieutenant gubernatorial candidates.

That makes it more likely to have a viable, multi-candidate field in the general election and less likely any of them would win a majority.

"I went to the Government Operations Committee in the Senate at that time and I asked for a constitutional amendment," Dean said.

The governor said his preferred change would be to institute "instant runoff voting." Under that system, voters would rank their choices for governor in order and tabulators would use those rankings to determine who had the most support of Vermonters.

The outgoing administration is making plans for the possibility that the state won't know who its new governor will be until Dean's last day in office.

The administration is writing a budget that the new governor can use as a blueprint for his own spending plan. Dean also has talked to some agency secretaries and department commissioners about staying on the job past next year's inauguration to ensure a smooth transition.


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