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Vermont Grange Resolution

The Vermont Grange passed the resolution below endorsing IRV at their state convention in the Autumn of 1999. The resolution was promoted by Terry Bouricious, the New England Regional Consultant for FairVote. The state Grange has included IRV in their legislative agenda distributed to all legislators.


Resolution Endorsing Instant Runoff Voting (IRV)

Whereas, plurality election rules in races with more than two candidates can result in a candidate opposed by a majority of the voters being declared the winner, and

Whereas, in 35 percent of all election years in Vermont, one or more federal or statewide races had a result less than a majority, and

Whereas, in 23 percent of all election years, the general assembly had to intercede to elect one or more statewide officers, due to the lack of a popular majority, and

Whereas, 21 times in Vermont's history the governor was elected by the general assembly rather than the voters, due to a failure to achieve the constitutionally required majority of popular votes, and

Whereas, the general assembly has often elected a statewide candidate who did not receive the greatest number of votes, and

Whereas, in one election year with no majority winner in the governor's race, the general assembly deadlocked and elected no governor, forcing the lieutenant-governor to serve, and in another election year with no majority in the treasurer's race the general assembly elected the third-place candidate who had received only three percent of the popular vote and who therefore refused to serve, leaving Vermont with no treasurer, and

Whereas, recent presidential elections in Vermont with more than two candidates indicate that the existing plurality election rules cannot be certain to faithfully reflect majority voter sentiment, and

Whereas, the advent of public financing in certain statewide elections, beginning in the year 2000, could increase the likelihood of multiple viable candidates, and

Whereas, having more than two credible candidates increases the chances of there being no majority winner, and

Whereas, a preference voting system known as Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) would allow the voters to directly elect state officials with a majority vote, and

Whereas, IRV would add no significant cost or burden on local polling officials, and

Whereas, IRV has been used for over 80 years around the world in countries such as Australia and Ireland, and

Whereas, the Vermont Commission to Study Preference Voting, a citizens' commission established by the Vermont House of Representatives has unanimously recommended that the state adopt IRV for all statewide elections beginning in 2000, and

Whereas, the League of Women Voters and Common Cause of Vermont have endorsed Instant Runoff Voting, and

Whereas, a bill, H.199, co-sponsored by four Republicans, four Democrats, and one Progressive has been introduced and is pending before the Government Operations Committee, now therefore be it Resolved by the ________________________ Grange, that Instant Runoff Voting be endorsed for statewide government elections, an be it further Resolved that the Vermont State Grange be urged to adopt a similar endorsement resolution.