Since You Asked

Ashland has seven people running for the position of mayor in the Nov. 4 election. Is this a winner-take-all vote, or will there be a runoff? If it is winner take all, does that mean a very small percentage of voters (maybe 20 percent) could decide who will be the city's next mayor?

— Christine T., via e-mail

Elections are a beautiful thing, Christine, but the Ashland mayor's race almost is certain to produce a winner who will have a less-than-overwhelming mandate from the voters.

The November election is, in fact, winner take all. Whoever gets the most votes will have the honor of presiding over Ashland City Council meetings, voting to break ties when the City Council deadlocks, and listening to citizens bend his or her ear whenever he or she goes shopping — all for the princely sum of $500 a year.

If the vote were to split almost evenly among all seven candidates, anyone who managed to eke out 15 percent of the vote would be the winner. Not exactly a landslide, eh? A perfectly equal split seems unlikely, but by the same token, with so many people in the race, it's equally unlikely anyone will collect 50 percent of the votes.

Mayor John Morrison is not among the candidates, which may have encouraged others to file.

"When there's an open seat, it's fair game," said Barbara Christensen, Ashland city recorder. Christensen says she can't recall a mayoral race with so many candidates during her 14 years on the job.

She knows about multiple candidate races, however. She won the recorder's job in an election with seven other candidates.

A note: There now are only six candidates for the mayor's position. Peter Gross has dropped out (though his name still appears on the ballot) and he endorsed John Stromberg. Others in the field include Art Bullock, Jenifer Carr, Tom Frantz, Steve Hauck and George Kramer.


A Since You Asked item in Friday's paper on duplicate ballots should have indicated that the Jackson County Elections Center would discover duplicate ballots during the signature-verification process, not when the ballots are going through the tabulation machine.

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