Vermont League of Women Voters
October 28, 2002

On October 28, 2002 the League of Women Voters of Vermont released the results of a survey of all candidates running for the Vermont House and Senate.

Strong majorities of the 142 candidates responding favor shifts in school funding, an equal rights amendment and electoral reforms including campaign finance reform, direct election of the governor through a majority voting system known as instant runoff voting, and a four-year gubernatorial term, while majorities opposed school vouchers, and amending the state constitution to eliminate the majority requirement.

The issue of how offices such as governor and lieutenant governor should be elected in the future is receiving a lot of attention. By a three to one ratio a majority of those candidates responding said they supported the adoption of instant runoff voting, although 27% said they were still undecided. The League has made adoption of instant runoff voting (IRV) one of its top priorities for this next legislative session. IIRV essentially combines a runoff into the regular election by allowing voters to rank candidates in order of choice. IRV would eliminate the need for the legislature to elect such offices, since the majority winner would be determined in a single election, regardless of the number of candidates.

Below are the relevant portions from the candidate survey with the responses:

Majority Rule: Some statewide offices can be elected by a mere plurality (less than half the votes), and others, by our constitution, require a majority (and if there is no majority, the general assembly elects instead). The League of Women Voters believes that the principles of both majority rule and direct elections are very important, and advocates the adoption of instant runoff voting (as recently adopted in San Francisco) that assures a candidate preferred by the majority of voters wins in a single election.

8. Do you think the principles of majority rule and direct election by the voters are principles that should be applied to statewide elections?

Yes 84% (119) No 6% (8) Undecided 36% (15)

9. To assure direct election by a majority of voters, would you support using instant runoff voting, which gives voters the option of indicating runoff choices by ranking candidates on the November ballot?

Support 54% (77) Oppose 18% (25) Undecided 28% (40)

10. Rather than leaving things as they are, or adopting instant runoff voting, would you instead favor amending the constitution to eliminate the majority requirement, allowing a candidate with the highest vote count to win, even if a majority of voters oppose that candidate?

Yes 27% (39) No 38% (54) Undecided 35% (49)