Nashville, TN Charter Amendment to Implement the "Instant Runoff" Method
Type: Charter Amendment
Status: Introduced on 6/3/03, but withdrawn.
PROPOSED CHARTER AMENDMENT #12
Section 15.02, Section 15.03, Section 15.09, and Section 15.10 of Article 15 of the Charter of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County shall be amended as follows:
1. Section 15.02 shall be amended by deleting such section in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof the following new Section 15.02:
“Section 15.02. Instant runoff elections.
(a) For the purposes of this section: (1) a candidate shall be deemed "continuing" if the candidate has not been eliminated; (2) a ballot shall be deemed "continuing" if it is not exhausted; and (3) a ballot shall be deemed "exhausted," and not counted in further stages of the tabulation, if all of the choices have been eliminated or there are no more choices indicated on the ballot. If a ranked-choice ballot gives equal rank to two or more candidates, the ballot shall be declared exhausted when such multiple rankings are reached. If a voter casts a ranked-choice ballot but skips a rank, the voter's vote shall be transferred to that voter's next ranked choice.
(b) The mayor, vice-mayor, district councilmembers and councilmembers-at-large shall be elected using a ranked-choice, or "instant runoff," ballot. The ballot shall allow voters to rank a number of choices in order of preference equal to the total number of candidates for each office; provided, however, if the voting system, vote tabulation system or similar or related equipment used by the Davidson County Election Commission cannot feasibly accommodate choices equal to the total number of candidates running for each office, then the Administrator of Elections may limit the number of choices a voter may rank to no fewer than three. The ballot shall in no way interfere with a voter's ability to cast a vote for a write-in candidate.
(c) If a candidate receives a majority of the first choices, that candidate shall be declared elected. If no candidate receives a majority, the candidate who received the fewest first choices shall be eliminated and each vote cast for that candidate shall be transferred to the next ranked candidate on that voter's ballot. If, after this transfer of votes, any candidate has a majority of the votes from the continuing ballots, that candidate shall be declared elected.
(d) If no candidate receives a majority of votes from the continuing ballots after a candidate has been eliminated and his or her votes have been transferred to the next-ranked candidate, the continuing candidate with the fewest votes from the continuing ballots shall be eliminated. All votes cast for that candidate shall be transferred to the next-ranked continuing candidate on each voter's ballot. This process of eliminating candidates and transferring their votes to the next-ranked continuing candidates shall be repeated until a candidate receives a majority of the votes from the continuing ballots.
(e) 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 shall be eliminated simultaneously and their votes transferred to the next-ranked continuing candidate on each ballot in a single counting operation.
(f) A tie between two or more candidates shall be resolved in accordance with Tennessee Code Annotated, section 2-8-111.
(g) The Davidson County Election Commission shall conduct a voter education campaign to familiarize voters with the ranked-choice or, "instant runoff," method of voting.
(h) Any voting system, vote tabulation system, or similar or related equipment acquired by the Davidson County Election Commission shall have the capability to accommodate this system of ranked-choice, or "instant runoff," balloting.
(i) Ranked choice, or "instant runoff," balloting shall be used for the general metropolitan election in August 2007 and all subsequent elections.”
2. Section 15.03 shall be amended by adding the following new paragraph at the end thereof:
“Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section to the contrary, from and after the August 2007 general metropolitan election, the provisions of section 15.02 hereof with respect to the instant runoff election method shall apply to special elections and to general elections at which time a vacancy is filled.”
3. Section 15.09 shall be amended by adding the following new paragraph at the end thereof:
“Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section to the contrary, from and after the August 2007 general metropolitan election, the provisions of section 15.02 hereof with respect to the instant runoff election method shall apply to any such recall election.”
4. Section 15.10 shall be amended by deleting in its entirety the phrase “in such runoff election”.