Police Oversight Board, Ranked-Choice Voting Among Big Ballot Items on Vermont Town Meeting Day

A number of communities across the state are voting on some major initiatives Tuesday

Se espera una alta participación de los texanos en estas elecciones primarias.

Tuesday is Town Meeting Day in Vermont, and some communities have some big issues topping their ballots.

In Burlington, voters will decide whether to create a community police oversight board that would have the authority to discipline local police officers, including the chief.

Mayor Miro Weinberger, a Democrat, vetoed a similar measure in 2020 following protests over several use-of-force incidents by Burlington officers and in the aftermath of George Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis.

This time advocates gathered enough signatures to get the latest proposal on Tuesday’s Town Meeting Day ballot. If the charter change passes, it would need to be approved by the Legislature and governor.

“This proposal codifies the principle that police should not oversee themselves. They are accountable to the communities that they serve,” said Burlington City Councilor Gene Bergman, a progressive, at a recent event promoting the measure.

A number of cities have community oversight boards, but not many have discipline authority. Advocates say the Burlington proposal is based on models in Chicago and Madison, Wisconsin. But Weinberger, who along with the acting police chief opposes it, wrote to the City Council that police oversight systems in those cities are “dramatically different from what is proposed for Burlington in numerous ways, including their disciplinary authority, structure, accountability, and more.”

Also on the ballot in Burlington is a proposal to expand the city's ranked-choice voting system.

Elsewhere, WPTZ-TV reports that LGBTQ+ candidates are expected to fill every seat on the new Winooski city council, which will be a first for Vermont. Voters there are also deciding if landlords should be restricted to "just-cause" evictions.

South Burlington has several open city council seats and two major bond questions, including a $15 million tax increment financing bond for the downtown area and a $34 million bond for a wastewater treatment facility.

Killington residents will vote on a big infrastructure bond, and Colchester is being asked to approve a $7 million recreation center.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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