Runoff election 101 - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Runoff election 101


by Danielle Wagner

WATERLOO (KWWL) The City of Waterloo will elect a new mayor Tuesday, likely either Buck Clark or Steve Schmitt.

If you heard only people who voted in the municipal election can vote in the runoff, you heard *wrong said Black Hawk County Auditor Grant Veeder.

"That's not true. Anybody who is registered to vote can vote, and if you're not registered to vote you can register at the polls," said Veeder.

Veeder said Iowa law allows for three types of elections for cities: 1) top vote getter automatically wins, or if you want someone to get a majority of votes you either 2) have a primary before the regular election or 3) a runoff after the election.

Veeder said the City of Waterloo adopted the runoff style about six years ago.

"The first time it came into play was in 2003 when current Mayor Hurley was elected in a runoff election," said Veeder.

Back in 2003, five candidates initially ran for mayor. Doug Miller and Tim Hurley were the top two vote getters in the regular election. Miller got about 30 percent of the votes. Hurley got almost 26 percent.

In the runoff in 2003, Hurley ended up the winner with 49 percent of the votes to Miller's 40 percent.

Notice Hurley did not get a majority of votes. Auditor Veeder said a majority is not required in a runoff. The top vote getter automatically wins.

Veeder said turnout for runoff elections is typically the same or a little less than regular elections.

Turnout back on November 3 was just more than 22 percent. He expects around the same for Tuesday.

Veeder said more absentee ballots have been cast for the runoff election than were cast for the municipal election.

The polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Reporter: Danielle Wagner

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