ATLANTIC - By a 5-1 vote the Atlantic City Council formally approved changes to the way elections are held in the city, changing from a “winner take all” system to a “majority-runoff” system.

The ordinance passed it’s third reading on a 5-1 vote with Councilman Grace Slater voting no.

Under the new system, a candidate must receive at least 50% of the vote, which could require a runoff election in the event a large field dilutes the vote and no candidate receives the required majority. In that case a runoff election would be held between the top two candidates.

Officials have said they were worried the current system could lead to a candidate winning with less than 50% of the vote and little public support.

The Council began debating the change a month ago and approved the first two readings on a 5-1 vote with Garrett voting no, noting opposition she had received from the public.

Other council members have noted that while there have been some opposition to the change, members say most of their constituents support the change.

The new system will go into effect with the next city election.

Council Shortens Park Board Terms

In a related issue, the Council approved the the third and final reading of an ordinance that will reduce the length of terms on the Park Board from six years to four. Officials say that six years was a long term commitment that could lead to burnout among members and discourage interest in running for the seat.

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