City of Burlington In the Year Two Thousand Twenty-Two An Ordinance in Relation to Elections-Rank Choice Voting Implementation | Ordinance Changes | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Ordinance: 7.03
Rules suspended and placed in all stages of passage: 10/24/22
Published: 11/16/22
Effective: 12/07/22

It is hereby Ordained by the City Council of the City of Burlington as follows:
That Chapter 2, Administration, Section 2-9, Implementation of Ranked Choice Voting in City Council Elections, of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Burlington be and hereby is amended to read as follows:

2-9 Implementation of Ranked Choice Voting in City Council Elections.

(a) Purpose and authority. The purpose of this section is to implement ranked choice voting for the election of city councilors. This section is adopted pursuant to the Charter of the City of Burlington, Section 5, Acts of 1949, No. 298, Vermont General Assembly, as amended.

(b) Definitions. For the purposes of this Section, the following terms have the following meanings:
1. "Active candidate" means any candidate who has not been defeated or elected.
2. "Highest-ranked active candidate" means the active candidate assigned to a higher ranking than any other active candidate.
3. "Inactive ballots" are ballots that do not count for any candidate for any of the reasons given in subdivision (d)1.
4. "Overvote" means an instance in which a voter has ranked more than one candidate at the same ranking.
5. "Ranking" means the number available to be assigned by a voter to a candidate to express the voter's choice for that candidate. The number "1" is the highest ranking, followed by "2" and then "3" and so on.
6. "Round" means an instance of the sequence of voting tabulation described in subsection (c).
7. "Skipped ranking" means a voter has left a ranking unassigned but ranks a candidate at a subsequent ranking.
8. "Undervote" means a ballot that does not contain any candidates at any ranking in a particular contest.

(bc) Instant runoff retabulation. In the election of city councilors, if no candidate receives a majority of first preference, an instant runoff retabulation shall be conducted in rounds. In each round, each voter's ballot shall count as a single vote for whichever continuingactive candidate the voter has ranked highest. The candidate with the fewest votes after each round shall be eliminated until only two (2) candidates remain, with the candidate then receiving the greatest number of votes being elected. If there are two or more candidates tied with the lowest vote totals, the tied candidates will be eliminated in a round so long as the vote total sum for all the tied candidates is less than the vote total for the next active candidate with the fewest votes and the number of active candidates is at least one more than the remaining number of positions to elect.

(d) Ballots.
1. In any round of tabulation in a contest conducted by ranked choice voting, an inactive ballot does not count for any candidate. A ballot is inactive if it does not contain any active candidates and is not an undervote.
2. An undervote does not count as an active or inactive ballot in any round of tabulation.
3. Write-in votes shall not be excluded for the initial tabulation.
4. If a voter skips a ranking or rankings, any valid subsequent rankings will be moved forward.
5. An overvote shall be treated as a skipped ranking.

(e) Ties. If two or more candidates are tied with the fewest votes, and tabulation cannot continue until the candidate with the fewest votes is defeated, then the candidate to be defeated shall be determined by the forward-looking method whereby the system will attempt to break ties using vote totals in previous rounds going forward from first round to the round preceding the current round. If the forward-looking method fails to resolve the tie, the tie shall be resolved by lot.

(f) Rulemaking Authority. The City Clerk shall have the authority to promulgate whatever rules consistent with the ordinance are necessary to implement this Ordinance.

* Material stricken out deleted.
** Material underlined added.