Burlington Mayor Bob Kiss re-elected through instant runoff

03/03/09 10:49PM By Lynne McCrea
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(Host) Burlington voters used an instant runoff system to re-elect Mayor Bob Kiss to a second term.

Kiss didn't win the first round of voting, but he captured the second-place votes from enough of his challengers to vault ahead of Republican Kurt Wright in the third round.

VPR's Lynne McCrea has our story.

(McCrea) Kurt Wright won 33% of the votes in the first round.

But Burlington requires candidates for mayor to win at least 50%.

So the race instantly went into second and third rounds. And that's where Wright's support eroded.

He says he thinks the race will call into question the whole system of instant runoff voting.

(Wright) "You have a system here where you had lots of people who cast strategic votes for losing candidates - we'll never know how that would have played out. The reality is, I had the most votes up to the 2nd round, then had lots of people casting strategic votes so, is it frustrating - to someone who won the first two rounds? Absolutely."

(McCrea) For Bob Kiss, it's the second time he's been elected Burlington mayor under the instant runoff method.

He says it's a good system because it guarantees that a mayor has majority support.

(Kiss) "What I like about IRV is that if no one gets 50%, then you're immediately able to go to the next round - based on all the same information, based on all 19 debates and so forth that voters had - so that there are these next steps that are part of the process. And I think the outcome of tonight's balloting really does reflect what would happen if we had head on head races. I would prevail over Kurt Wright in a citywide vote.''

(McCrea) Kiss says over the next three years he looks forward to building on some of the accomplishments of his first term.

(Kiss) "We'll definitely continue to focus on the money issues. The fact that we're on sounder footing after 3 years of progressive leadership in my administration really does make a difference, and so we need to pay attention to that.''

(McCrea) Burlington voters also approved a $9.7 million bond for school repairs and a city schools budget that rose more than 9%.

For VPR News, I'm Lynne McCrea.


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