Welcome to the Tuesday, Feb. 16, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:
- ESG: Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance
- Burlington, Vermont voters will decide on March 2 whether to adopt ranked-choice voting for city council elections
- West Virginia Supreme Court rules in favor of Gov. Justice’s appointment
ESG: Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance
Today, we’re launching a new way to stay up to date on the trends and events that characterize the growing intersection between business and politics. Economy and Society is a free, weekly email newsletter that delivers news and information about the developments in corporate activism and corporate political engagement. Our team will also provide updates on the latest scholarship and research in the field and notable quotes from thought leaders. Be among the first subscribers to signup. The first edition will be delivered to inboxes today!
Burlington, Vermont voters will decide on March 2 whether to adopt ranked-choice voting for city council elections
On March 2, Burlington, Vermont voters will decide whether to implement ranked-choice voting (RCV) for city council elections. The city previously used RCV but repealed its use over a decade ago through a ballot initiative petition drive. Question 4 would cause RCV to be used starting in March 2022.
First, let’s do a quick rundown of the history of RCV in Burlington.
- 2005: Burlington voters amended the city’s charter to implement RCV—referred to as instant runoff—for mayoral elections. The 2005 measure was approved by 64% to 36%. It was used in the 2006 and 2009 mayoral elections.
- 2010: Voters repealed RCV by a vote of 52% to 48%. The measure was placed on the ballot through a ballot initiative petition drive after the 2009 mayoral election.
- 2020: The Burlington City Council attempted to place an RCV measure on the November 2020 ballot, but Mayor Miro Weinberger (D) vetoed it after the city council voted 6-5 on it. The measure would have implemented RCV for city council, mayoral, and school commissioner elections. The council amended the measure to only include city council elections and reconsidered it for the March 2021 ballot. It was approved on Sept. 22, 2020, and Mayor Weinberger signed the measure on Oct. 3.
Ranked-choice voting is an electoral system in which voters rank candidates by preference on their ballots. If a candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, he or she is declared the winner. If no candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, the candidate with the fewest first-preference votes is eliminated. First-preference votes cast for the failed candidate are eliminated, lifting the second-preference choices indicated on those ballots. A new tally is conducted to determine whether any candidate has won a majority of the adjusted votes. The process is repeated until a candidate wins an outright majority.
One state (Maine) has implemented RCV at the state level, one state (Alaska) has adopted but not implemented RCV, eight states contain jurisdictions that had implemented RCV at some level, and another five states contain jurisdictions—including New York City—that have adopted but not yet implemented RCV in local elections.
West Virginia Supreme Court rules in favor of Gov. Justice’s appointment
Here’s an update on a contested appointment to the West Virginia Legislature that we’ve been watching. Let’s catch you up.
On Jan. 9, Rep. Derrick Evans (R) resigned from the West Virginia House of Delegates after being charged with entering a restricted public building and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
According to West Virginia law, the executive committee of the political party that holds the seat can submit a list of three candidates to the governor in case of a vacancy. On Jan. 13, the Wayne County Republican Executive Committee sent three names to Gov. Justice: Mark Ross, Chad Shaffer, and Jay Marcum.
Gov. Jim Justice’s (R) chief of staff, Brian Abraham, then told the committee Justice wanted a new list of names because Acting Chairman of the West Virginia Republican Executive Committee Roman Stauffer was not involved in the original nomination process. The second nomination list included Mark Ross, Chad Shaffer, and Joshua Booth. Gov. Justice approved the nomination and formally appointed Booth on Jan. 27.
According to the Charleston Gazette-Mail, after Justice formally appointed Booth on Jan. 27, the Wayne County Republican Executive Committee petitioned the state’s court of last resort “to force the governor to choose from the first list of candidates submitted, saying state law doesn’t give the governor discretion to reject the list provided by local party executive committees.”
On Feb. 9, the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia heard the case and ruled in favor of Gov. Justice. Booth was sworn in the following day.
As of Feb. 11, there have been 23 state legislative vacancies in 18 states this year. Eight of those vacancies have been filled, with 15 vacancies remaining. Booth is one of three Republicans to fill vacancies from 2021.