[EM] Burlington VT reconsidering IRV 10 years after IRV failed to elect the Condorcet Winner

robert bristow-johnson rbj at audioimagination.com
Tue Dec 3 07:54:47 PST 2019

> On December 3, 2019 4:03 AM Kristofer Munsterhjelm <km_elmet at t-online.de> wrote:
> On 03/12/2019 07.00, robert bristow-johnson wrote:
> > 
> >  i got news from Burlington Vermont regarding ranked-choice voting (after all we went through a decade ago) and i might could use a little bit of help.
> What are the news from Burlington?

okay, Burlington is pretty liberal.  While there is one Republican in City Council (who also happens to preside over the council and even more coincidently was the Republican candidate for mayor in the 2009 IRV election, gathering the most 1st-choice votes but losing to the Prog candidate in IRV) the Progs in City Council have reintroduced a Charter Change resolution to return to IRV, now they are calling it "RCV" but it is the same Single Transferable Vote procedure used in RCV elections everywhere.  The language of the Charter Change is posted below.

But there was a little pushback from other councilors (and myself) for Burlington to not repeat mistakes from the past, namely that of electing a candidate other than the clearly shown Condorcet Winner.

This is all in a hurry.  In two weeks Council will make the decision whether or not to include the question to the ballot for Town Meeting Day in March 2020.  On Monday Dec 9th, the Charter Change Committee will consider the language of the bill and vote on what shall be brought to the whole Council to include on the ballot.

I want to figure out some good language to change this from regular-old IRV to Bottom-Two Runoff, Single Transferable Vote, BTR-STV .  If someone is good at writing legal language or if this BTR-STV has had legislative language written for it somewhere else, I would like to see it.

The language that needs to be changed, to make this RCV Condorcet-compliant is: 

"... The candidate with the fewest votes after each round shall be eliminated ..."

How can we clearly and concisely change that to Bottom-Two Runoff?


r b-j                  rbj at audioimagination.com

"Imagination is more important than knowledge."

All elections of mayor, city councilors and school commissioners shall be by ballot, using a system of ranked choice voting without a separate runoff election. The chief administrative officer shall implement a ranked choice voting protocol according to these guidelines:
 (1) The ballot shall give voters the option of ranking candidates in order of preference.
 (2) If a candidate receives a majority (over 50 percent) of first preferences, that candidate is elected.
 (3) If no candidate receives a majority of first preferences, an instant runoff re-tabulation shall be performed by the presiding election officer. The instant runoff re-tabulation shall be conducted in rounds. In each round, each voter’s ballot shall count as a single vote for whichever continuing candidate the voter has ranked highest. The candidate with the fewest votes after each round shall be eliminated until only two candidates remain, with the candidate then receiving the greatest number of votes being elected.
 (4) The city council may adopt additional regulations consistent with this subsection to implement these standards.

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