Majority of votes would eliminate need for runoff
By BERNARD SCHOENBURG
Published March 2nd 2007 in Springfield (IL) Journal-Register
That would eliminate the need for a runoff election later.
In some Illinois cities, candidates who got more than 50 percent of the vote in Tuesday's balloting were elected, with no need for another vote April 17. In Chicago, for example, Mayor Richard Daley soundly defeated two challengers to win another four-year term.
In Springfield, Davlin got more than 60 percent of the vote Tuesday over Ward 10 Ald. Bruce Strom and two write-in candidates. But in Springfield's system, the primary merely cuts the field of candidates to two. As a result, the official mayoral election for Strom and Davlin is still April 17.
Davlin, appearing at a news conference at the Illinois State Library on another election issue, said both he and Ward 6 Ald. Mark Mahoney would have been elected Tuesday if the 50-percent-plus-1 system had been in effect.
Davlin said he had planned to bring up the issue after the general election.
McNeil said he believes it may be possible to change the Springfield system simply by getting a federal judge to alter the consent decree under which city government was reorganized in 1987. If necessary, however, he said he would try to engineer a referendum in which city voters could approve the change.
Davlin participated in a news conference to promote a state law to allow cities with municipal elections in February and April to send ballots for both the primary and general election at the same time to members of the armed forces and other overseas voters.
As it stands, said Dan Johnson-Weinberger, a lobbyist working with a ballot-access group called FairVote, municipal elections are so close together that if an overseas voter participates in a February primary, there's no time for the general election ballot to be certified and sent to that voter.
An "instant runoff ballot" would allow overseas voters to list their preferences for several candidates for an office. That general election ballot could then be sent back with the primary ballot and used in the runoff election.
Davlin discussed the idea with Johnson-Weinberger last fall. A proposition on the April 17 ballot will ask city voters if the system should take hold in Springfield with the 2011 elections.
Thursday's news conference was to promote legislation to allow municipalities statewide to make the same change without referendum.
A Web site, www.includeev eryvoter.org, has more information on the proposal.
Sangamon County Clerk Joe Aiello, who oversees the county's election office, said he supports the idea.