Posted on March 02, 2009
Citizens of Burlington, Vermont went to the polls on Tuesday, March 3rd to vote for the second time in an election using instant runoff voting. At 8:25 PM, the city declared that incumbent Mayor Bob Kiss had won reelection in the third and final round of counting, narrowly edging out challenger Kurt Wright, 51.5% to 48.5%. The race was unique in that it had four candidates that had a legitimate shot at winning: Progressive Kiss, Republican Wright, Democrat Andy Montroll, and independent Dan Smith. In most other American cities, there would be fear of "spoiler" candidates, but IRV allowed all four candidates to run without having to worry about being labeled "spoilers."
IRV is also credited for making the race one of the more civil that Burlington has seen, as candidates were hesitant to attack one another for fear of losing their opponents' second choice support. Democratic City Councilman Bill Keogh was quoted as saying the race was "the most respectful and informative campaign in Burlington in a long time."