Express Staff Writer
held its last runoff election.
City Council Monday unanimously voted to abolish the provision for runoffs
that was adopted a year ago, when the city made the controversial move to
a designated-seats voting system.
were to be held in the event that a candidate did not receive more than 50
percent of the votes cast for a particular seat. The method was an
unpopular way to settle a close election between Warm Springs residents
Baird Gourlay and Anne Corrock last fall. Gourlay won the runoff.
testimony and council member comments were unanimously in favor of repeal.
Simon backed off of his prior threat to veto the repealing measure. Such
an act would have been symbolic anyway, because only a simple majority of
council member votes is needed to override a mayorís veto.
let it pass without my signature," Simon said.
Ketchum citizens will be asked on an advisory ballot Nov. 5 whether they
would prefer an at-large voting system or the runoff-free designated seats
discussion on ridding the city of runoffs, however, was overshadowed
Monday by a numbers quandary that is, in ways, a precursor to the pending
advisory vote and the debate that is sure to precede it.
Randy Hall and Sun Valley resident Karen Reinheimer solved an equation
computing the cityís percentage of bullet votes differently and debated
the issue for the better part of an hour at Mondayís meeting.
voting, or under voting, occurs when voters cast one vote rather than two,
either intentionally or unintentionally.
if bullet votes are cast intentionally, and a bullet vote campaign is
organized, it has the power to sway at-large elections, according to
political science experts.
Reinheimer and Hall disagreed on how to calculate the number of bullet
votes cast in an election.
simple terms, if youíre asking if Iím wrong, Iím not," Hall
wrong. Iím sorry," Reinheimer later said, after Hall had presented
calculations aside, the different methods, based on the same base numbers,
create vastly different results. Hallís calculations show a relatively
high percentage of bullet votes cast in Ketchum elections, about 27
percent in the 1999 election. Reinheimerís calculations show the
percentage at more common levels, around 14 percent in 1999.
concluded that the city should not have spent so much time on an issue
that was not on the eveningís agenda, and the issue, at least for now,
is still unresolved.