Burlington voters to decide ballot measures related to policing, ranked-choice voting, noncitizen voting

By Nicole Fisher | Ballotpedia News

On March 7, 2023, voters in Burlington, Vermont, will decide on at least seven ballot measures — five of which were placed on the ballot by the Burlington City Council, and two which were placed on the ballot by citizen initiative.

The council-referred measures are as follows:

  • A charter amendment that would allow non-citizens who are legal residents to vote in municipal and school board elections
  • A charter amendment that would require voters to be residents of a ward or city district if casting a ballot for certain local officers or local public questions, and to provide that the City Council determines the number and location of polling places in each ward
  • A charter amendment that would redistrict city election boundaries
  • A charter amendment that would provide that ranked-choice voting be established for elections for mayor, school commissioners, and ward election officers
  • A measure that would implement a carbon pollution impact fee starting for “new construction buildings that install fossil fuel thermal energy systems,” and for existing commercial and industrial buildings that have installed fossil “fuel thermal energy space conditioning or domestic water heating systems”

The citizen-initiated charter amendments are as follows:

  • A charter amendment that would establish an independent board to investigate, hear complaints, and impose discipline regarding a police officer’s actions or inactions
  • A charter amendment that would provide citizens the ability to initiate ballot questions and repeal ordinances by majority vote and place the issue directly on the ballot, rather than requiring city council and mayoral approval to be placed on the ballot.

Independent oversight board regarding police

Town Meeting TV

City Councilor Joe Magee, P-Ward 3

Regarding the police oversight board initiative, City Councilor Joe Magee said, “We need to be holding the police department to a higher standard of accountability and demanding more transparency from them.” James Lyall, the executive director of the ACLU of Vermont, said, “We believe that it’s really important to have independent involvement in police oversight, that it’s not enough to essentially leave it to police to police themselves… We’ve seen that; that can create real problems.”

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger (D), who opposes the initiative, said, “I think, arguably, if you were going to create some kind of citizen oversight board that’s the most important background for someone to have. But this sort of turns it on its head and says that that is disqualifying. And that’s offensive. It’s offensive to me. It’s offensive to someone who believes that law enforcement is an important profession that we need to respect. It’s certainly offensive to the people who serve and put their lives on the line every day for this community. It also completely removes the chief from any role in discipline which I think really fundamentally changes the chief’s role and makes it very hard for a chief to be successful.”

Noncitizen voting

A noncitizen voting measure was previously rejected by voters in 2015. Last year, the city council voted to refer the measure to the March ballot. City Councilor Gene Bergman (Vermont Progressive Party) said, “There are all these decisions that are made on a local level, in fact, this is where we live, we live here, we act here and it’s where most of the important things happen, and I believe people should have a stake in it.”

Ranked choice voting for mayor, school commissioners, and ward election officers

Wikimedia Commons/Dismas

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger

The charter amendment would implement ranked-choice voting (RCV) for mayoral, school commissioner, and ward election officer elections. Currently, in Burlington, RCV is used for city council elections. In March 2021, voters passed Question 4 to use RCV for city council elections. RCV allows voters to rank candidates in order of preference. If no candidate gets a majority, the candidate with the lowest amount of votes is eliminated, and votes for that candidate would instead be assigned to the second choice of those voters. The process would continue until one candidate receives the majority of votes.

Mayor Weinberger opposes the measure, saying, “I don’t think there’s a need to in the Burlington mayoral general election where we have a provision for a runoff if no one achieves a strong plurality, so I think it’s a mistake I think it’s problematic for a mayoral, general elections, but voters are going to get to weigh in and decide for themselves.” City Councilor Joan Shannon (D) supports the measure, saying that the process is better for voters. Shannon said, “What we really want to look for is a voting system that serves democracy, that engages the public and that produces a result that is reflective of the voters’ will.”

The measures will be decided by Burlington voters on March 7, 2023.

Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Beyond My Ken, Town Meeting TV and Wikimedia Commons/Dismas

6 thoughts on “Burlington voters to decide ballot measures related to policing, ranked-choice voting, noncitizen voting

  1. I don’t support non-citizens voting but… what about non-citizen homeowners who pay property taxes? It takes too long to become a citizen.

    • So, “…don’t support non-citizens voting”. Simple enough.

      But I think town electorates already have the authority to let non-citizens vote on local issues. And one would assume that any local provision in that regard would take into consideration whether or not the non-citizen actually lives in the town, declares it their primary residence, and pays State income and other local taxes as well. Short of that, the non-citizen always has the right to own property elsewhere.

    • Becoming a citizen of the United States should not be cheap or easy Joy.
      If people come to this nation and then don’t follow the process, and then they work, buy property thus choosing to pay taxes- that is on them.
      There is a process to follow and they’ve not chosen to follow it.
      Tell me what other nation you can do this in.
      Tell me what other country you can go to as an American foreigner and then demand to vote in their elections. There are many countries that if you pulled that baloney you wouldn’t live to see the election.
      Where are these countries that allow this?

      I have to laugh at a lot at you here, at this place.

      You openly admit that you believe yourself to be a “recovering Dem” and yet here you are now- constantly either promoting the values system that you supposedly are recovering from OR you are complaining about the fallout of the very messes that you voted to create.
      And now you are here trying to make us clean up the messes you don’t like..

      This right here is exactly what I meant when I told you that YOU are part of the problem.

  2. The decent, responsible citizens of Burlington are now outnumbered at the polls by rent-subsidy deadbeats and student renters who dont directly pay property taxes so they vote for all this socialist nonsense thinking it comes out of someone else’s pocket. Renters complain about the high rents and then support all the mandates and regulations on rental housing and the astronomical school budgets and are so naive to think that the resulting costs wont get passed along to them. Until enough people have experienced having their dwelling or car broken into or stolen, or being assaulted, there will be an underlying attitude of mistrust and disrespect for law enforcement in that marxist hellhole. The citizenry of Burlington, like a pathetic junkie, will have to hit rock bottom before they will admit there is a problem.

  3. Will B’town sink further down the toilet of OneWorldism? I bet they will, just as Vermont went to crap after the 70’s Burlington went to crap after electing the commie socialist bernardo and there doesn’t appear to be much chance of reviving either of them.

  4. Burlington, what used to be known as the ” Queen City ” now it’s just a haven for
    the homeless, and crime. so do what you want and take what you want and this all
    revolves around the feckless Burlington City Council “AKA” Gaggle of Fools, and
    just look at the mentioned agenda

    So how do you pad elections, well one way is to have non-citizens vote, voting is a
    privilege for its legal citizens, and those who want to vote, become a US citizen. one
    other way is ” ranking ” this Ponzi scheme is just that keep rolling the numbers until
    the outcome is what you want.

    Then you have the City council member that doesn’t believe we can trust the police, the
    same council, that already doesn’t support the police with defunding them, and now they
    want someone ” civilian” to oversee them……… sure, maybe the council members need
    to ride the night shift for a week or so to see policing firsthand, I volunteer ” Joe Magee “.

    Burlington homeowners better wake up !!

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