Two interesting stories have floated their way out of the Vermont Secretary of State race.
Peter Cooper is the Progressive Party nominee for Secretary of State. He recently interviewed with the Brattleboro Reformer:
Cooper said he would like to see communities around Vermont take a second look at instant runoff voting (IRV).
A method of voting to determine a majority winner in a single election by allowing voters to rank the candidates in their order of choice, IRV gives voters the opportunity to select their top candidate as a first choice and subsequent candidates as their runoff choice if their initial selection does not make the runoff.
“I’d like to see the secretary of state take a more active role in that and endorsing it. I know we had it in Burlington for a year or two, then it was voted out, but I think it would be a good thing not just for the Progressives, but in terms of having people in office with 50 percent support from the voters for whatever office they’re running for,” he said.
Cooper also pointed out a major goal of his campaign involved ballot access for his party.
Cooper and the Progressive Party have listed keeping its major party status as a primary goal for putting up its slate of candidates.
“I think it’s important that there be Progressives in the Legislature and in statewide offices,” he said. “I’d like to see the Progressive Party maintain its major party status, and to do that it needs to get 5 percent in the general election in at least one of those six statewide positions
The Rutland Herald also points out an interesting comment from Charles Merriman, a candidate in the Democratic primary.
Late last month another Democrat – Charles Merriman of Middlesex – suggested in a radio interview that perhaps he should have run for higher office (he’s in a two-way primary for secretary of state) as an independent.
“I should have run as an independent,” he said on the Mark Johnson Show on WDEV. “You know it was … I thought about it and frankly I ran as a Democrat because I figured I had a better chance of winning than if I ran as an independent. If I get in, I’ll run as an independent next time.”
Merriman later explained his point a bit more clearly.
“It puts the purity of our democratic process at risk” to have the job be elected through a partisan process, said Merriman, a 51-year-old attorney who lives in Middlesex and practices in Montpelier.
Merriman has praise for the job done not only by Deborah Markowitz, the Democrat now serving as secretary of state, but also for the job [Republican] Gov. James Douglas did when he occupied the post.
Of course, the state Democratic Party has pushed back against Merriman’s statements, but it does raise an interesting scenario. One minor party candidate wants to help maintain his party’s recent growth while a major party candidate wants to break away from ties to party.