Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Sun Valley voters settle long debate

City Council election format returned to open seats

Express Staff Writer

An overwhelming majority of Sun Valley voters cast ballots Tuesday, May 24, to end a longstanding debate in favor of returning to an open-seat election system for City Council.

The final vote was 192 in favor of ending designated seat elections, to 72 voters against the change in election format. The city has 906 registered voters. Of the 264 ballots cast, 64 were absentee ballots.

Under the approved open-seat election system, all council candidates run against each other, competing for the same number of open seats. Those candidates who receive the most votes gain the seats up for consideration.

Previously, Sun Valley operated under a designated-seat election format. Implemented in 1995, the designated-seat system asked the electorate to vote every other year for candidates vying in individual races to fill two specific, numbered seats on the council.

The special election was called in response to an initiative petition signed by 169 Sun Valley voters demanding that the city terminate its designated-seat election system and return to an open-seat format. Sun Valley resident Milt Adam, a former City Council candidate, submitted the petition.

After receiving the petition in April, the City Council decided to hold a special election on the matter rather than pass an ordinance that would have established open-seat elections.

The mandate for change now goes before the city council to officially adopt an ordinance to change the election format.

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