Without runoff, low vote total likely for Mitchell's next mayorThe winner of this year’s Mitchell mayoral election may take office even if more than 80 percent of the people who cast ballots support someone else.
By: Tom Lawrence, The Daily Republic
The winner of this year’s Mitchell mayoral election may take office even if more than 80 percent of the people who cast ballots support someone else.
At this point, there are six people running for mayor. In the event of a closely split vote among the candidates, the winner could receive 17 percent of the vote and be named mayor.
Cities and towns can adopt an ordinance requiring a majority, said Yvonne Taylor, executive director of the South Dakota Municipal League. They must do so by Oct. 1 in the year before a city election.
Taylor said she does not know how many communities in South Dakota hold runoffs, but knows Sioux Falls and Rapid City do and thinks there are more.
Mitchell does not have such an ordinance, meaning the candidate that simply receives the most votes is declared the winner.
Mayor Lou Sebert received 54 percent of the vote in a three-way race when he was first elected in 2006.
He was unopposed for a second term.
Sebert, who is not running for a third term, said he feels if there had been a six-candidate field when he ran in 2006, he probably wouldn’t have received more than half the vote.
“If I had a toss-up, I would still choose the method we have,” he said. “Let the best guy win.”
Sebert said while a winner this year may receive a small level of support, it’s still more votes than the winner’s opponents.
“When you get 17 percent, somebody else gets less,” he said.