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In slim vote, council decides on plurality method for non-partisan elections

On Monday night, the Albemarle City Council narrowly voted to move forward with the plurality voting method for non-partisan elections.

Last month, the council passed a motion to prepare a resolution to change elections to non-partisan. City staff members have researched election options.

Councilwoman Martha Sue Hall offered the motion to move forward with the plurality method.

The voting methods researched were plurality, run-off election and primaries.

The plurality method involves one candidate receiving the most votes (but not necessarily a majority) while in a run-off election, if a candidate does not receive a majority of the votes in the election, the candidate who received the second most votes can request a runoff, where only the top two vote getters would appear on the ballot.

But not every council member agreed.

Councilman Dexter Townsend said he would go with the run-off election method because every candidate on ballot should be allowed to request a run-off if an election is very close.

Councilman Chris Bramlett wasn’t sold on the plurality method because “somewhere along the line, we should have a majority vote,” he said.

Councilman Chris Whitley voiced support for the plurality method because he believed it was the least political voting method.

“To me the purpose in going non-partisan is to be as nonpolitical as possible,” he said.

The motion passed by a 4-3 vote.

The council will now take the resolution before the Board of Elections for comments before setting another  public hearing.

But the resolution is not set in stone.

The resolution “gets us moving,” Hall said, but added “we can change our mind at any time until it’s actually in writing.”

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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