Prescott City Charter Article IX, Section 6 states:
At the primary election any candidate who shall receive a majority of all the valid ballots cast at such election for that office shall be declared elected to the office for which he is a candidate. City Charter language differs from state law and many other cities that declare the election winner as a candidate who receives a majority of valid votes cast at an election. Therefore, Prescott’s calculation differs from how state law and many other cities determine whether a candidate is elected at a primary election.
How Majority of Valid Ballots is calculated for Mayoral Race
In the mayor’s race, there is one seat to be filled in the election. The majority of valid ballots is calculated by taking the total number of ballots cast in the mayor’s election as provided by the County Elections Office and subtracting from that number the following:
1. Under votes (not voting for a candidate)
2. Over votes (voting for more than one candidate)
3. Invalid write-ins (when a vote is for a non-registered write-in candidate)
This net number resulting from those subtractions is divided in half and 1 is added to determine the majority of valid ballots cast.
The reason for subtracting under votes and invalid write-ins is because, from the face of the ballot, the voter chose not to vote in the mayor’s race. Over votes are deducted because we are unable to determine the intent of the voter.
How Majority is calculated for City Council Races
In the City Council races, there are three seats to be filled in the election. The majority of valid ballots is calculated by taking the total number of ballots cast in the council race as provided by the County Elections Office) and subtracting the following:
- Over Votes (voting for more than 3 candidates)
This net number resulting from that subtraction is divided in half and 1 is added to determine the majority of valid ballots cast.
The reason for subtracting over votes is that we cannot determine the intent of the voter if more votes are cast than the number of seats open to be elected. Under votes and in-valid write-ins are not deducted because raw numbers are provided by the County that do not allow us to determine whether valid votes were cast as well. Therefore the ballot is considered valid.