BRADENTON -- A voter referendum that could end city run-off elections may be on the ballot during the primary election next summer, the Bradenton City Council clerk suggested Wednesday.
Council members last year voted unanimously to move elections for mayor and city council from odd years to even years to match up with county and state races.
They have also already given their blessing to a referendum question on the ballot at the next available election, said Bradenton City Clerk and Treasurer Carl Callahan.
If the voters decide to drop run-off elections, it would save about $60,000 in election costs and eliminate a second trip to the polls, officials said.
However, council members wanted to know what the effective date would be.
“I’m going to be directly involved, and the Ward 5 seat is up for grabs,” said Councilmember Harold Byrd, Jr. “We would want to find out as soon as possible as far as all the ramifications and procedures having to do with that election.”
Currently in Bradenton, the council calls a run-off election if no candidate wins more than half the votes. The two with the highest vote totals are again on the ballot during a run-off, according to Nancy Bignell, Manatee County assistant supervisor of elections. Whichever candidate tallies the most votes wins, she said.
The mayoral run-off on Nov. 27 last year cost $56,939.57, said Bill Lisch, city attorney.
Next year’s election primary is slated for Aug. 14, so those who might want to run would begin to campaign next spring, he said.
If the voters choose to drop the run-off during the primary election, the council would have to decide during a regular meeting whether the change would go into effect immediately, affecting the Nov. 6, 2012 general election, or whether it should go into effect on another date, officials said.
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031.