Ferndale, MI Instant Runoff Voting for Mayor and City Council

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Ferndale, MI, US

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Type: Ballot Initiative

Status: Adopted with 70% of the vote on 11/2/04

Source File: Link Missing

Text:

Proposal B

Proposed Amendment to Ferndale City Charter
Chapter IV, Section 17

This amendment provides for the election of mayor and council members by majority vote using an instant run-off voting procedure of counting votes as soon as the City acquires voting machine equipment, approved by the City Election Commission, to implement this amendment. Voters shall designate first preferences and subsequent preferences; if no candidate receives a majority, the candidate with fewest first preferences is eliminated and the secondary preferences for that candidate are recounted until a candidate receives a majority who shall be elected to office.

Shall the Ferndale charter, Chapter IV, Section 17 be amended as proposed?

Suggested Charter Language: (may not include final language adjustments)

Suggested Instant Runoff Voting Charter Amendment Language


Ordinance relative to voting for Mayor by the Instant Runoff Voting method

Be it enacted by the Council of the City of Ferndale, and by authority of the same, as follows:

Chapter III, Section 4 of the Charter of the City of Ferndale is hereby amended by inserting the following new section.

§ 4A. Electing the Mayor by the Instant Runoff Voting Method

Definitions.

"Instant Runoff Voting" means a method of casting and tabulating votes that simulates the ballot counts that would occur if all voters participated in a series of runoff elections with one candidate eliminated after each round of counting.

"Advancing candidate" means a candidate who has not been eliminated.

"Continuing ballot" means a ballot that is not an exhausted ballot.

"Exhausted ballot" means a ballot on which there are no choices marked other than choices for eliminated candidates.

The purpose of this section shall be to require a majority of votes for election to the office of Mayor.

Instant Runoff Voting shall be the method used for all elections to the office of Mayor when three or more candidates have qualified to have their names printed on the ballot for that office.

In elections using the Instant Runoff Voting method, voters may rank the candidates in order of preference. In all such elections, the count shall proceed in the following manner:

(1) The initial round of counting shall be a count of the first choices marked on each ballot. If any candidate receives a majority of the first choices, that candidate shall be deemed and declared elected. (2) If no candidate receives a majority of first choices, there shall be a second round of counting. The last-place candidate shall be eliminated, and all the continuing ballots shall be recounted. Each continuing ballot shall be counted as one vote for that ballot's highest ranked advancing candidate. (3) If no candidate receives a majority of votes of continuing ballots at the second round of counting, there shall be a third round of counting. The last-place candidate shall be eliminated, and all the continuing ballots shall be recounted. Each continuing ballot shall be counted as one vote for that ballot's highest ranked advancing candidate. (4) The process of eliminating the last-place candidates and recounting all the continuing ballots shall continue until one candidate receives a majority of the votes of continuing ballots in a round. The candidate who receives a majority of the votes of continuing ballots in a round shall be deemed and declared to be elected. (5) When a ballot becomes an exhausted ballot it shall not be counted in that round or any subsequent round.

The following provisions shall apply to all Instant Runoff Voting elections:

(1) Ballots, ballot instructions, sample ballots and voter education: Ballots shall allow the voter to mark the voter's first choice in the same manner as that for offices not elected by Instant Runoff Voting.

Sample ballots illustrating voting procedures shall be posted in or near the voting booth, and shall be included in the instruction packet for absentee ballots. Directions to voters shall conform substantially to the following:

"Vote for your first-choice candidate by marking the number '1' next to that candidate's name. In addition to your first choice candidate, you may rank additional candidates in order of preference. Ranking additional candidates will not affect your first-choice candidate. Indicate your second choice by marking the number '2' by that candidate's name, your third choice by marking the number '3,' and so on for as many candidates as you wish. Do not mark the same number beside more than one candidate. Do not skip numbers."

The City Clerk shall ensure that ballots shall be simple and easy to understand. Before the first election to be held using Instant Runoff Voting, the City Clerk shall conduct a voter education campaign to familiarize voters with Instant Runoff Voting.

(2) Skipped and duplicate rankings: If a voter skips a ranking, the ballot shall be counted for the highest ranked advancing candidate in each round of counting.

If a voter gives an equal rank to two or more candidates, the ballot shall be declared exhausted when such multiple rankings are reached, unless the City Council has adopted an ordinance allowing duplicate rankings and fractional votes that divides such votes equally among duplicate-ranked advancing candidates.”

(3) Write-in votes: The ballot shall provide the option for the voter to write-in and rank one individual not listed on the ballot

(4) Ties: In case of a tie between two or more candidates at any stage of the vote tally, the candidate to be eliminated first shall be selected by drawing lots or other equally random selection method.

(5) Facilitating ballot counting: If the total number of votes of the two or more candidates credited with the lowest number of votes is less than the number of votes credited to the candidate with the next highest number of votes, those candidates with the lowest number of votes may be eliminated simultaneously.

(6) Take Effect: This section shall go into effect upon the City Clerk certifying that all voting equipment in the City of Ferndale is compatible with Instant Runoff Voting.

This section shall go into effect for the November 2005 mayoral election and all subsequent ones unless the city council certifies by at least 120 days before the November 2005 mayoral election that it is not feasible to implement instant runoff voting for that mayoral election. If the city council so certifies, this section shall go into effect for the November 2007 mayoral election and all subsequent ones.

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