IDAHO FALLS/BLACKFOOT, Idhao - Both Idaho Falls and Blackfoot started early voting for runoff elections Monday, but the decision to have them came about in two very different ways.
In Idaho Falls the runoff elections for City Council and mayor started when councilman Thomas Hally was running. He said City Council thought there needed to be a substantial win for candidates, but they wanted to make sure the decision for runoff elections was unanimous.
"We decided why don't we just put it up for an advisory vote for the next election we have?" said Hally.
The people of Idaho Falls voted in favor of the new process, but the ballot never mentioned that additional elections would cost the city $40,000, which has some taxpayers on the fence.
"That's a considerably large amount of money, but when you have the close elections that we have, people are going to say, 'Well yeah, but it makes a difference.' We'll see if it makes a difference," said Hally.
Do voters really want to gamble with city dollars just to make sure the right person gets voted into office twice? Blackfoot has tried to avoid some of the re-election expenses. When City Council motioned to do away with City Council runoffs, it saved tax dollars, but the bill is still pretty high. Election Manager Marlene Jensen said based on last years run off election the bill is well into the thousands.
"We're projecting that the expense for the city of Blackfoot will be about $6,000," she said.
Although the city no longer has a City Council runoff , it kept the mayoral runoff. Jensen believes it's worth it.
"If you don't have a majority of your voters, I think there are a lot of repercussions down the road for the mayor to continually have the support of the people in the city," said Jensen.
Blackfoot Mayor Mike Virtue said other options could be considered in the future, while Idaho Falls said another advisory vote would be the way to go in determining whether to do away with process.
Runoff Election Day is set for Dec 3.