Majority Election in Vermont

Section 47, Chapter II of the Vermont Constitution requires candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, and treasurer to receive a majority of the votes in order to be elected. In the event no candidate receives a majority, "...the Senate and House of Representatives shall by joint ballot, elect to fill the office, not filled by the voters as aforesaid, one of the three candidates for such office (if there be so many) for whom the greatest number of votes shall have been returned."

Currently the only other popularly elected officials governed by majority election are town officers in municipalities that have not adopted the Australian ballot or other alternative balloting practices (see 17 V.S.A. §2660).

The majority requirement has been applied to other races (secretary of state, auditor of accounts, attorney general, Vermont House, U.S. Congress) through our history. Over time the majority requirement has been replaced with election by plurality. For attempts to change the constitutional requirement for majority election see Constitutional Amendment Proposals.

This page was last updated: 2015-01-29