Run-off elections could come to an end

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - When Rapid City municipal candidates fail to get 50 percent of the vote - plus one - they are forced into a runoff election and ward voters once again have to trek to the polls.

Run-off elections could soon be a thing of the past.

That appears to be changing.

The Rapid City Legal and Finance Committee on Wednesday discussed eliminating run-off elections.

If run-off elections were eliminated, the winner would be the candidate who receives the highest number of votes the first time around.

Since 2009, there have been nine run-off elections in Rapid City, and in each instance, the run-off victory went to the candidate who scored the most votes during the first round.

City communication coordinator Darrell Shoemaker says those extra run-off elections are expensive, costing, on average, about $25,000 per election.

"A lot of the people who voted in the municipal election don't turn out for the run-off election. There is a cost associated with that. There hasn't been any change in the results in those elections," says Shoemaker.

The next step comes on Monday when the issue moves to the council to see if it's approved.