Rapid City moves toward adopting runoff elections

Runoff elections could be heading to Rapid City soon.
Published: Aug. 2, 2023 at 6:58 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - The way Rapid City conducts mayoral and city council elections could be changing soon.

The city’s Legal and Finance Committee held a second reading today of an ordinance to change mayoral and city council elections from simple votes winner to a 50 percent plus one system.

This system was used previously by the city but was changed about five years ago.

Under this system, a candidate would be required to earn 50 percent plus one vote to be declared the winner of the election. If no candidates in the election met that threshold, a runoff election will be held between the two candidates who received the most votes.

Darrell Shoemaker with Rapid City says that this change ensures that only candidates with majority support can be elected.

”So in this instead of splintering the votes if you have five candidates or eight candidates and it splinters the vote you might have a candidate with 20-25-30 percent that would win an election and under this ordinance, it would basically mean that there would be a runoff between the top two vote-getters if they don’t achieve 50 percent plus one,” said Shoemaker.

This ordinance will head to the city council next Monday and if passed would go into effect for future elections.