The contest pits incumbent Mayor Rebecca Casper against Councilwoman Barbara Ehardt. Thirty miles to the south, Blackfoot also will hold a runoff election between incumbent Mayor Paul Loomis and challenger Marc Carroll. Runoff elections are triggered when a single candidate doesn’t garner more than a 50 percent of the vote. Though Idaho Falls’ 2005 runoff ordinance is relatively new, Gem State cities are generally trending away from the contests because of their impact on local budgets and how infrequently they change general results. Still, a handful of Idaho cities use runoffs to magnify and hone candidate viewpoints, as well as allow their community to elect with consensus.
“In a crowded field it’s harder to see the distinctions between candidates,” constitutional scholar and Alturas Institute President David Adler said. “The runoff provides an opportunity for more nuanced looks to determine where strengths and weaknesses lie. Secondly, it gives the candidates a way to refine their positions and draw distinctions — sometimes sharp distinctions.”
American Falls, Blackfoot, Boise, Eagle, Idaho Falls, Mountain Home, Pocatello and Spirit Lake are among the 201 incorporated Gem State municipalities that have mayoral runoff ordinances. Idaho Falls is the only city with city council runoff elections; Blackfoot scrapped its council runoff ordinance several elections ago.
Full Article: Pros and cons of a runoff election | Post Register.