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Associated Press

Groups still calling for instant runoff
By Wilson Ring
December 17, 2002

MONTPELIER -- The Vermont chapter of the League of Women Voters and six other groups are renewing their call for the Legislature to enact an instant runoff voting system that would guarantee a clear winner in every election.

If such a system had been in place this year the Legislature would not be required to elect the state's next governor and lieutenant governor as it will do on Jan. 9.

"We can make democracy work better in Vermont than in any other state," said Paul Burns, executive director of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group, another of the groups calling for instant runoff. "It will reduce cynicism."

The League, VPIRG and the other groups have banded together in a group they have dubbed the "Voters Choice Coalition." They are planning to present to lawmakers petitions asking for such a system. They have already collected 300 signatures and are continuing their petition drive.

For the past several years advocacy groups have asked the Legislature to enact such a law, but none has received enough support to become law.

The need for an instant runoff system was clear this year when neither the governor nor lieutenant governor received the majority of the votes needed to be elected. Neither Gov.-elect James Douglas nor Lt. Gov.-elect Brian Dubie will be officially elected by the Legislature until the day they take office.

Prior to the election there was some concern that a losing candidate might not tell lawmakers to cast their secret ballots for the highest vote getter, although it turned out the popular vote losers have ended their campaigns.

"We were expecting to be in a state of confusion right now," Burns said.


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