After taking considerable testimony on the instant runoff voting (IRV) bill, H.665, last year, the House Committee on Local Government sponsored House Resolution 37, which was adopted by the full House in April 1998. HR.37 established the Vermont Commission to Study Preference Voting. The Commission has 11 members appointed by the League of Women Voters and Common Cause in accordance with HR.37.

The Commission members are:

  • Christopher Allen, political science student at UVM
  • Gerard Colby, author; chair, Vt. Local of the National Writers Union
  • Christopher Costanzo, 1998 chair, Vermont Libertarian Party
  • Judy DiMario, former Democratic State Representative
  • Krista Griffes, political science student at St. Michael’s College
  • Marie P. Griffin, member of the League of Women Voters and a retired librarian
  • Lisa Martin, former Republican State Representative; chaired Local Government Committee
  • *Marjorie Power, chair of this Commission; member of the Older Women’s League
  • Maria Thompson, chair, Vermont Common Cause
  • Bert Thompson, an employee and student of Johnson State College
  • Robert Walker, community organizer and organizer for campaign finance reform

There are two general types of preference voting mentioned in HR.37. The Commission early on decided to focus on statewide elections with IRV, and not on legislative elections with proportional representation. The Commission: sponsored numerous mock elections using preference voting in junior and high senior high schools across Vermont; sought input from a variety of civic organizations; established a "devil’s advocate" committee to gather arguments against instant runoff voting; and heard from expert witnesses. We would like to particularly thank Gregory Sanford, state archivist; Dr. William Grover, chair of the St. Michael’s College political science department; Dr. Douglas Amy, author and professor of politics at Mt. Holyoke College; Rep. Terry Bouricius; and the Center for Voting and Democracy, a Washington, D.C.-based nonpartisan educational organization that provided administrative and technical assistance in carrying out the Commission’s work.