LETTERS TO THE EDITOR A better way to elect mayor
Voters on Hilton Head Island have just experienced their third straight mayoral runoff vote. Usually, this occurs just before Thanksgiving, when many residents are away. Voter turnout for the runoff this year was about half that of the Nov. 6 election day.
There is a better way, which eliminates the need for a runoff. It’s called “ranked-choice voting,” and is in place in a number of locations in this country. It requires that voters express not only their first choice, but their second and subsequent choices as well. If a voter’s first choice is unsuccessful, it is assigned to his or her second choice, and so on until a candidate reaches a majority.
For example, suppose there are four candidates in a race. After the first vote count, the results are as follows: Candidate A, 35 percent; Candidate B, 30 percent; Candidate C, 25 percent; Candidate D, 10 percent.
Under ranked-choice voting, Candidate D’s votes would be reallocated to the voters’ second choices. In this situation, that would not be mathematically enough to give any candidate over 50 percent of the vote, so the process would be repeated with Candidate C’s votes, which would likewise be reallocated to their second choices. That should be adequate to give Candidate A or B more than 50 percent.
This would eliminate the need for another two weeks of campaigning, as well as the cost of holding the second election. Most importantly, it could result in recording the input of almost twice as many voters.
– Steve Alfred Hilton Head Island