The City Council has taken another step toward getting a new municipal constitution before voters.
Last week, the council voted 2-1 to include instant runoff elections in the proposed city charter, which a panel of citizens drafted.
Council members have said they wanted some type of runoff in the charter to make sure that the mayor and council members get the support of a majority of voters. As it stands, only Councilwoman Diane Moore got more than 50 percent.
But council members have debated what type of runoff election to hold. Some have argued for a separate runoff election when no one gets a majority. But others have pushed for an instant runoff — in which voters rank their choices.
Under such a system, if no candidate receives a majority of votes cast, the candidate with the fewest votes would be eliminated. Each ballot would then be tallied again, counting the vote from each ballot for the highest-ranked candidate — a process that would continue until a candidate gets a majority.
Councilman Andrew Feldman said he wouldn’t compromise in his support of instant runoffs.
“A special runoff election costs money and you usually lose voter turnout. You don’t ever get the amount of voter response as you do the first time around,” he said.
Councilman Morris Madrid, who voted against the instant runoff provision, said he would prefer a separate election. He said instant runoffs are complex, while a runoff election would result in a clear decision from voters.
Councilwoman Diane Moore voted for instant runoffs at last week’s meeting, while Councilman Cruz Roybal, who didn’t attend, has previously come out against the idea.
The council is expected to vote on the entire charter, including the instant runoff provision, on Dec. 2.
If a council vote on the charter produces a tie, the mayor has the right to break it. Mayor Tony Marquez wouldn’t reveal his position on instant runoffs in an e-mail Monday, but he said he wanted residents to get the chance to vote on the charter.
“I am in favor of empowering our citizens to make that decision — for or against the proposed charter,” the mayor said.
The charter would likely go before the voters during the regular municipal election on March 2.