The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday approved a bill to mandate a runoff for state Supreme Court elections where no candidate earns a clear majority vote. It also OK’d a bill to ensure people unable to leave their homes to vote can receive an emergency absentee ballot. The Supreme Court bill is HB 2008. It says that if no candidate in a Supreme Court election receives more than 40 percent of the vote in the May election, the two highest vote-getters will face off in a runoff in November. If passed by both chambers, it would take effect in time for the 2020 election. It would also apply to special elections occurring after that date.
In the November 2018 election two filled the unexpired terms of two vacant court seats, neither winner scored 40 percent. Former House Speaker Tim Armstead won his division with 26.05 percent of the vote; runner-up Joanna Tabit received 22.21 percent.
Former Congressman Evan Jenkins won his division with 36.01 percent – a bit closer to 40. He also won by a wider margin; the runner-up, Dennise Smith, earned 13.92 percent.