GOP duo to push for runoff elections
Coming after Governor Carcieri and some other Republicans’ displeasure about Governor-elect Lincoln Chafee’s 36 percent victory, state representatives-elect Mike Chippendale and Patricia Morgan are calling for a constitutional amendment requiring run-off elections when a candidate receives less than 50 percent of the vote.
The move comes in response to voter disapproval of two of the five races for General Offices in the 2010 General Election where the winner did not receive the approval of a majority of the voters, according to Mike Chippendale, a first-term Republican.
“I’ve had a multitude of constituents – as well as people from outside of my district, really focusing on the fact that the governor’s race was a seven way race that was won with only 36% of the vote. That means 64% of the voting electorate is not being represented by that office. That’s substantial.” states Chippendale.
Representative Morgan adds, “We now have an established third party in Rhode Island, and if that party remains active, we can see more and more races being won by candidates that don’t have the support of the majority of the voters. This year there were 12 races in Rhode Island won with less than 50% of the vote. I fear this is an issue that will only grow over the next
several election cycles. Ultimately we’ll see more disenfranchised voters which will contribute to the existing problem of voter apathy and mistrust of the government.”
A run-off election is a mechanism currently being used in seven U.S. states, and being implemented in four more. If an election for a specific office has more than 2 candidates and none of them garner more than 50% support, an automatic second election is held for the top two vote-getters. The winner must receive at least 50% of the votes.