Council Members Make Push To Stop Expensive Runoff Elections

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Davidson County vice mayor runoff election could cost more than $750,000 according to the county election commission and council members filed a charter amendment to stop the spending in the future.

With no clear winner in Thursday's vice mayor race, metro council members Jim Shulman and Sheri Weiner will face office again in a special election on September 13th, this time without the presence of candidate Matt DelRossi.

Weiner To Face Shulman In Vice Mayor Runoff

Shulman and Weiner came in at 42 and 46 percent respectively, DelRossi pulled in just enough votes to keep each candidate from taking a clear majority.

The runoff cost is an estimate from Davidson County Election Commission Administrator Jeff Roberts. He said it's likely that figure could change. Some council members believe the cost could be as high as a million dollars. Councilman Freddie O'Connell said he supports an amendment to Nashville's charter to eliminate special runoff elections.

"It's something called instant runoff voting and it's not new or experimental," said O'Connell. "There are cities around the country, I think the entire state of Maine is in the conversation for using it in a variety of elections. But it basically says, you can go to the ballot box and basically rank your candidates."

Instant runoff voting allows voters to rank their candidates from first to last. Election officials could then make a more accurate determination about which candidate is the most popular.

"Why should we be spending any of that money at all when there's a tried and tested mechanism that is use across the country which would allow Nashvillians in these circumstances to both save money and frankly provide a little more insight into voter preferences anyways," said O'Connell.

It's too late for the amendment to impact the vice mayoral runoff, but the resolution was seen in a metro council committee Friday.

The election commission has five weeks to get polling places prepared, make sure they have enough staff and the correct amount of funding for a county wide election.

In 2018 Davidson county will have six elections.

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