April runoff election could cost Chattanooga taxpayers tens of thousands
Voters will head back to the polls to decide who will represent districts 7 and 9 in the city council.
Tens of thousands of dollars will be poured into next month's runoff election in Chattanooga. Voters will head back to the polls to decide who will represent districts 7 and 9 in the city council.
Nearly 19,000 people voted in Tuesday's city election. That's just 10% of the population.
To put that into perspective, that's not enough to fill Finley Stadium, which has a capacity of 20,668.
Some are questioning whether a runoff election is worth the price.
As Hamilton County's Election Commission works to certify Tuesday's results, they're getting ready for another election in April.
None of the candidates running for city council districts 7 and 9 received enough of the vote to win. Now the top two will face off.
Some candidates agree with the rule. Others believe the city's charter should change to declare an outright winner based on who receives the most votes.
"I have a second chance at giving it another shot and taking the win. Winning over new voters," City Council District 9 Candidate Demetrus Coonrod said.
"Last night, I would have liked to not had the run-off concept, but the highest vote getter," Incumbent Yusuf Hakeem of City Council District 9.
Tuesday's election cost taxpayers around $150,000, which is about $8 per ballot cast.
The cost includes early voting, election day, paying 400 workers, and any overtime due to election commission staff.
Chattanooga residents will foot the bill to pay roughly $50,000 to decide those two remaining council races next month.
Some candidates question the cost. Others say it's necessary.
"I would think that would be the route to go. It's cleaner for the citizens. It doesn't create fatigue in citizens," Hakeem said.
"I think it's worth it because the community has spoken with their votes," Coonrod said.
Channel 3 polled council members on Wednesday. Only a third of the sitting city council members said they'd like to change the city charter about the election process.
The rest either didn't respond or didn't have an opinion. The runoff election will be on April 11th.
Before April's election is set, the election commission will need to approve the ballot, hire poll workers, and determine early voting locations and times.