A bit confusing, a lot better

Published October 22nd 2007 in Wilmington Star News
On Nov. 6, Wilmington voters will be invited to the polls once again. The runoff for two City Council seats will cost local taxpayers about $100,00.

On that same day, voters in Cary will be going about their usual activities. They won't be paying for a runoff. They already had it - when votes were recalculated after the Oct. 9 city elections.

Cary's experiment with what's called the "instant runoff" worked well. There was no reason to believe it wouldn't. It's used successfully elsewhere in the United States and the world.

If we did it here, you'd vote for one candidate, but give your second and third choices. For example, 1) Lauren B. Kaul, 2) Heywood U. Buzzoff 3) Henry Kissinger.

Your first choice loses. If the editors understand this right, the instant runoff is between Buzzoff and Kissinger. Since your second choice was Buzzoff, he gets your vote. After all the preferences are tallied, the candidate with the most votes wins. (Let's hope it's not Kissinger.)

There's no later runoff, in which the turnout is likely to be tiny, the results reflect nothing more than the preferences of a handful, and the expense is large.

Interviewed after they voted this way, a large majority of Cary residents said they preferred it to two rounds of voting.

Before Wilmington's next election for mayor and City Council, it ought to ask the permission of the Honorables to try the instant runoff. It's quicker, it's cheaper and - best of all - it's more likely to reflect the desires of more voters.