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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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For the week of March 6 - 12, 2002


Ketchum Council postpones election decision

Express Staff Writer

After a tongue-lashing by a local resident, the Ketchum City Council on Monday night postponed a decision on whether to delete a portion of its code that requires candidates for council seats to win a majority of votes or face a runoff.

The council voted in January 2001 to change the city’s election procedure from one in which the top two vote winners among all candidates were appointed to the council to one in which each candidate runs for a specific seat. The change also adopted the runoff requirement.

In response to widespread public opposition to the change, the council decided last month to put the issue before the voters in November in the form of an advisory opinion. City Attorney Margaret Simms told the council Monday that state law does not permit a binding referendum on the subject, but does permit an advisory vote.

The council decided that, in the meantime, it would remove the runoff portion of the new procedure. The third reading of the proposed amendment—required before a vote can be taken—was scheduled for Monday night’s meeting.

However, local resident Karen Reinheimer requested a postponement of that reading until she had a chance to share data she said she had collected on the so-called "undervote"—the percentage of voters who, under the previous system, cast only one of their two allowed votes to give the one vote for their chosen candidate more weight. She said she had made repeated attempts to compare her data with that previously collected by Councilman Randy Hall, which she believes to be inaccurate. The alleged undervote helped lead to calls for changes to the system.

"Right now I’m feeling a little railroaded," Reinheimer said. "I’m feeling a little disappointed in our government process.

"I think the people need to be informed that there has been a mistake made as to the calculations."

Hall admitted being slow in getting back to Reinheimer, and acknowledged that his data may be inaccurate.

After praising Reinheimer for making the effort to compile her data, Councilwoman Chris Potters moved to postpone the proposed amendment until the council’s March 18 meeting.

On Monday, Mayor Ed Simon said he will "veto" the amendment if passed, because he opposes the entire new system.

"I ran on the premise that we should vote the way we used to and I’m going to stand by it," he said.

Such a veto would be a primarily symbolic gesture, because under state law, a mayor’s veto can be overridden by a majority of council members, the same number needed to pass the measure.


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.