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The Missing Half

Jack Santucci, Research Associate // Published April 1, 2006

The Town of Essex, VT is governed by a five-member Selectboard. The Village of Essex Junction is a subdivision of the Town with limited home rule and its own Board of Trustees. Villagers elect members to both bodies and pay taxes to both governments, but the winner-take-all at-large system of Selectboard elections means Villagers seldom ever hold seats on that body. With a merger on the horizon, the Board of Trustees may become a thing of the past, and Villagers face the real prospect of taxation without representation. This report analyzes turnout, competitiveness and proportionality of representation. It proposes the merged Essex adopt proportional voting to elect its seven-member Town Council.