NEW: Runoff elections in Watertown could become a thing of the past (Audio)

February 3, 2020
Mike Tanner

WATERTOWN, S.D.—Runoff elections in Watertown could become a thing of the past.

At Monday night’s Public Works, Safety and Finance Committee meeting, members discussed doing away with the majority form of elections in Watertown, and shifting to plurality elections.

Right now, if more than two candidates are in a race, the top vote getter has to get 50.1% of all votes in that race, or the top two finishers square off in a run-off election.

That happened in 2017 in a city council race when Josh Weyh defeated Randy Tupper in a runoff that drew fewer than 450 voters.

In a plurality election, its winner take all from the get go. The top vote-getter wins, regardless of the percentage of votes they get.

Councilman Glen Vilhauer believes it’s time to do away with runoff elections…

Councilman Ried Holien agrees….

Vilhauer directed City Attorney Matt Roby to come up with an ordinance change that would make if official.

It would require two readings, a public hearing and council approval before the change becomes official.