A month after state lawmakers had to elect a governor because no one got a majority in November, a key lawmaker said Wednesday that the best solution to the issue may be to do nothing. “We are more seriously looking at whether we need to have a change,” said Sen. Jeanette White, chairwoman of the Senate Government Operations Committee. “I think a number of people automatically assumed that we had to have a change, but now we’re looking at do we need to have a change.” The panel is considering proposed amendments to the Vermont Constitution, which currently says that if no one gets more than 50 percent of the vote in a general election for governor, lieutenant governor or treasurer, the election goes to the Legislature.
That’s what happened last month, after incumbent Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin narrowly outpolled Republican challenger Scott Milne in November, but with seven candidates in the race neither of the top two finishers reached the 50 percent threshold. Shumlin defeated Milne by a vote of 110-69 in a joint session of the Legislature, an outcome that was expected given the strong majorities in the House and the Senate held by Democrats.
White, a Democrat, cautioned that the committee was far from concluding what it might do with proposals to amend the Constitution. But she said the idea of taking no action had “re-entered the conversation.”