After not being used in a Burlington election in more than a decade, ranked choice voting is coming back to the Queen City in December. It’ll now be used to decide City Council elections, and a group of council members wants to restore its use in other city elections as well.

Last year, Burlington voters approved the use of ranked choice voting for City Council only. State lawmakers approved, too, and Gov. Phil Scott allowed the proposal to become law without signing it.

Progressive Jack Hanson resigned from the Burlington City Council last month. His former seat will be filled on December 6 through the use of ranked choice voting.

“Burlington will indeed have the fact, and the ability to experience using the system, in just over a month in the special election for the East District,” Vermont Public Interest Research Group democracy advocate Sean McGinty told the Burlington City Council Charter Change Committee Wednesday night.

A few days before Hanson stepped down, he proposed expanding the return of ranked choice voting to mayoral elections. Under the system, voters rank candidates in order of preference. If no one receives a majority of the first-place votes, the candidate with the fewest first-place votes is eliminated. The ballots ranking that person first are then counted for the second-choice candidate instead in an instant runoff. The process is repeated, with one candidate elimination at a time, until one person has more than 50 percent support.

“I think we should add the school commissioners, if there’s a way to add other elected officials so that everybody can be elected under the same system,” Councilor Gene Bergman said.

Burlington elected its mayor through ranked choice voting in 2006 and again in 2009, when Republican City Council President Kurt Wright garnered the most first-choice votes. However, most of Democratic City Councilor Andy Montroll’s supporters for mayor in 2009 listed Progressive incumbent Bob Kiss as their second choice. Montroll had the fewest first-choice votes of the three major candidates on the ballot. When he was eliminated, his backers’ second-choice votes gave Mayor Kiss the margin by which he won a second term.

The Kiss administration’s mismanagement of Burlington Telecom became public knowledge in late 2009 and the Queen City narrowly repealed ranked choice in March of 2010. In an off-year Town Meeting Day election with low voter turnout, the two city wards where Wright had fared best in the previous year’s mayoral election both had lopsided margins in favor of repeal. The remainder of the city wanted to keep the ranked choice system.

Councilor Sarah Carpenter wanted to continue to implement last year’s compromise and test ranked choice in City Council elections before extending it to anything else.

“We had said we were going to wait,” she said. “So, I’m coming at this from the position of really wanting to wait and perhaps do it all together after we’ve educated voters on how this works.”

However, Bergman and Councilor Ben Traverse outvoted her Wednesday night, deciding to expand Hanson’s proposal to elections for mayor and for school board.

“I do think that we would want to bring in the School Board and current school commissioners to certainly be part of this discussion and be fully heard,” Traverse said.

Before sending the amended proposal to the full City Council, the Charter Change Committee will revisit the issue at a special meeting on November 1. The Burlington School Board will be invited to participate.