Three candidates enter Basalt mayoral race; town will debut instant runoff voting | AspenTimes.com
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Three candidates enter Basalt mayoral race; town will debut instant runoff voting

THE LINEUP

3 candidates for Basalt mayor:

Bill Infante

Bill Kane

Rob Leavitt

6 candidates for three council seats:

Glenn Drummond

Tiffany Haddad

Elyse Hottel

David Knight

Jennifer Riffle

Kirk ‘Dieter’ Schindler

Basalt will have a three-candidate race for mayor for the first time in 20 years and employ instant runoff voting for the first time ever to determine the winner.

Former Councilman Rob Leavitt officially entered the race Monday. He joins former Town Manager Bill Kane and current Councilman Bill Infante in the April 7 election.

Leavitt considered a bid for a couple of weeks before turning in a completed nomination petition Monday, the deadline for entering the race.

“My hesitation was (because of) not wanting to do anything divisive for the town,” he said. But Leavitt talked to both Infante and Kane and he said the three of them committed to civil discourse in the race.

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Six candidates also entered the race for three council seats. The candidates are Glenn Drummond, Tiffany Haddad, Elyse Hottel, David Knight, Jennifer Riffle and Kirk “Dieter” Schindler. Riffle is an incumbent seeking a second four-year term. Council members Katie Schwoerer and Auden Schendler didn’t seek reelection.

The three council candidates who receive the highest number of votes in the April 7 election will win seats.

In the mayor’s race, the town will use instant runoff voting as spelled out in the Home Rule Charter, according to Town Clerk Pam Schilling.

There were three candidates in the 2000 mayoral race, when incumbent Rick Stevens topped challengers Glenn Rappaport and Steve Solomon. However, rules at the time simply said the candidate receiving the most votes was the winner. Voters approved the Home Rule Charter in 2002 with the provision for instant runoff voting.

“The ballot shall provide a means for voters to rank all of the candidates for mayor in order of preference,” the charter says. “If any candidate receives a majority of all first-choice votes cast, then that individual shall be elected as mayor.

“If no candidate receives a majority of first-choice votes, then the candidate receiving the fewest first-choice votes shall be declared defeated. For each ballot that listed the defeated candidate as a first choice, the second choice shall then be countered as a first choice for that ballot,” the charter continues.

Since this is the first Basalt election to use instant runoff voting, the town will undertake an education effort, Schilling said.

Current Basalt Mayor Jacque Whitsitt cannot run because of term limits. She is finishing her second four-year term.

scondon@aspentimes.com


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