When I announced my retirement from the Legislature after 22 years, a surprising number of people asked me to continue writing “Scribblings.” I have considered those requests, and I have decided to make the effort. How long it will last and how frequently I will write remains to be seen. There is a vast difference between writing with inside knowledge of the doings on the hill and looking at things as the outsider I have become. However, realizing the futility of trying to keep my mouth shut when issues arise, I will occasionally get to work on the keyboard. The following is my first effort. But first, may I wish each and every one of you the best for the new year. On Thursday, Vermont will hold an election for governor. Only 180 people will be eligible to vote. Because no candidate received a majority of votes for governor Nov. 4, the Vermont Constitution declares that there has been “no election,” and it falls to the members of the General Assembly, meeting together in joint session, with each member having one vote, to elect the next governor. They must choose from among the three candidates for governor who received the greatest number of votes Nov. 4 — in this case Peter Shumlin, Scott Milne and Dan Feliciano.
The words “no election” that appear in the third paragraph of Chapter II, Section 47, of the Vermont Constitution have great significance. Those words mean that none of the three candidates eligible to receive votes has the automatic right to become governor. There are more than a few people who argue that the candidate who received the greatest number of votes in November should, for that reason alone, be elected by the Legislature. Indeed, such “confirmation” by the Legislature has become traditional, but that does not make it right.
The problem with this argument is that it flies in the face of the constitution. If the writers of the Vermont Constitution had intended that the person who received a plurality — but not a majority — of votes in November should automatically become governor, they would not have declared that there had been “no election,” and they would not have required a subsequent legislative vote. There must be other factors to be considered.
Full Article: Time for a modern election : Times Argus Online.