Apr 052011
Authors: Jason Pohl

Shortly after 9 p.m. on Tuesday night, supporters of ranked voting let out a collective disappointed sigh as the ordinance was shot down in a citywide vote by a 61 to 39 percent majority.

Proponents of ranked voting, otherwise known as “instant run-off voting,” argued that by allowing voters to rank candidates in order of preference, the overall preferences of the voters would be more evident in the final results of elections, given that a winner is not declared until a candidate receives an actual majority of votes.

“The need for ranked voting in Fort Collins is clear, as no mayoral candidate received majority support in this election,” said Fort Collins Ranked Voting Campaign Committee Co-Chairs Eric Fried and Seth Anthony in a press release. “The majority of voters in this election clearly preferred a candidate other than the final winner.”  

Opponents of the measure argued that it negates the power of “one person, one vote” and that ranked voting adds complexity to what was referred to as an already confusing ballot, according to the “Vote no to Fort Collins ranked voting” website.

Minneapolis and San Francisco have already adopted ranked voting practices, with communities such as Telluride and Memphis to follow suit in 2011.
Supporters of the measure collected more than 4,000 signatures to have the initiative placed on the ballot, and though it was shot down the first time, they still have high hopes for its future in Fort Collins.

“Ranked voting is gaining ground across the country; as more communities adopt it, we expect Fort Collins voters will choose it too,” said Fried and Anthony in a press release. “Not every great idea gains universal acceptance the first time around.”

The other two proposed ballot measures were both approved.

City Initiated Proposed Character Amendment No. One, which amended the city character so that district boundaries will be based on overall population rather than the number of registered voters in a given district, was passed via a 56 to 44 percent majority.

The second ordinance, which served to amend People’s Ordinance No. 2 in 1975, modifies rules which stated that expansions to the current Old Town library cannot comprise more than 5 percent of Library Park, changing them to where 15 percent of Library Park can now be used for library expansion and allowing for a 6,000 square foot addition to the current library. This ordinance was passed with an 87 percent to 13 percent majority.

News Editor Allison Sylte contributed to this report.

Staff writer Jason Pohl can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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