Voices & Choices

Burlington Adopts RCV for their City Council Elections

Burlington Adopts RCV for their City Council Elections

Burlington, Vermont will now get to use ranked choice voting (RCV) in their city council elections. This recent change was possible thanks to support from the state legislature, which passed a bill allowing the city’s charter amendment implementing RCV to take effect. Burlington is the first city to adopt RCV this year, a decision which was overwhelmingly supported by more than ⅔ of Burlington voters in a March 2021 referendum. 

Paul Burns, executive director of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG), identified why this legislation will improve voter choice and strengthen our democracy:

“(People) getting to choose to vote for their favorite candidate without fear of helping to elect their least favorite candidate means that more people are excited about participating in an election where they’re not feeling as though they are forced to choose between the lesser of two evils.”

A proponent of RCV, City Councilor Jack Hanson from the P-East District, sponsored the resolution and identified how the legislation would create opportunities for diverse candidates and better representation. This new method “really opens the door for a lot more people to run and particularly women and people of color who would otherwise be discouraged from running” Hanson says. 

This exciting step forward was made possible by the VPIRG and local leaders who worked to make the will of the voters respected. 

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