By Guy Page
Ranked choice voting – A/K/A instant runoff voting and long a favorite of Vermont’s Progressive third-party politicians – is getting a strong push from powerful Vermont lobbying groups.
Ranked choice voting lets voters choose more than Supporters say it offers voters more than just a single choice. Critics say it unfairly favors third-party candidates.
The Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG) “Better Ballot Vermont” initiative is running an advertising campaign in support of Ranked Choice Voting. An op-ed submitted by the League of Women Voters ran in yesterday’s Vermont Daily Chronicle.
“It’s time to bring ranked choice voting to Vermont,” says the headline on the VPIRG/Better Ballot Vermont advertisement now running on Front Porch Forum.
According to rankedchoicevt.com, here’s how ranked choice voting works: voters mark their ballots in order of preference for candidates. “If no candidate receives a majority of votes on the first round of counting, the votes are thereafter tabulated in rounds, with the lowest-ranked candidate eliminated in each round and the votes for that candidate transferred to the totals of each ballot’s highest-ranked continuing candidate (if applicable) until one candidate receives a majority of votes. The process is the same for multi-seat districts, with a majority vote election threshold based on the number of seats in the district.”
None of the three ranked choice voting bills in the Legislature, all sponsored by Progressives or independents with a smattering of backing from independent-leaning Republicans and Democrats, have been passed out of committee:
|H.236||Ranked choice voting in primaries, sponsored by Rep. Laura Sibilia (I-Dover), Progressive Tanya Vyhovsky (Essex) and others, and referred to House Government Operations.|
|H.352||Allowing ranked choice voting in municipal elections, sponsored by Sibilia and Vyhovsky, and referred to House Government Operations.|
|S.50||Ranked choice voting, sponsored by Progressive Sens. Anthony Pollina (Washington), Chris Pearson (Chittenden), and Andy Perchlik (Washington). It was reviewed by the Senate Government Operations Committee last March, but has not been passed out of committee.|
The third-party orientation of the sponsors is no accident. Pearson told WCAX, “We are routinely the state that votes outside of the two parties more than any other. Our voting system doesn’t deal with that. It solves several problems.”