When Telluride voters hit the polls on Tuesday, they opened up a different looking town ballot. Instead of just marking their favorite mayoral candidate like usual, voters were asked to rank the candidates by first, second and third preference.
It represented the town’s first foray into instant runoff voting, a rare type of voting that’s used in elections in which more than two candidates are running for one spot, such as mayor. Instant runoff voting, or IRV, is a ranked system designed to help ensure a true majority win and eliminate the “Nadar effect” that can happen in a three-way race.
The new system, which is more complicated than the traditional plurality voting and requires some forehead wrinkling to work out mentally, posed some logistical risks for election judges and ballot counters, and Town Clerk MJ Schillaci had warned that results could be days late.
Despite that, things went smoothly on Election Day, voters seemed to barely notice the difference and Mayor Stu Fraser was reelected by a 60 percent vote, a majority win, which meant that the complex redistribution of third-place votes wasn’t even triggered.
“It was very easy … first choice, second choice,” said Harold Wondsel, a town voter. Despite the ease of the system, Wondsel wasn’t convinced that it’s the best way to conduct elections. Offering several choices kind of mucks up the process of determining the most popular candidate, he said.
“When it comes right down to it … the old-fashioned way, if the winner gets 27 percent of the vote, they are still the most popular candidate,” Wondsel said.
Full Article: Telluride Daily Planet > News.