Otis Sanford: Voters to settle term limits, runoff issues… again

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Elections and term limits were clearly on the minds of City Council members this week and as a result, city voters will be asked to settle issues that most thought were already settled.

Council members gave final approval to a referendum asking voters to rescind instant runoffs for some council races. They also started the process for extending term limits for the council and mayor from two terms to three.

Assuming the term limit issue gets final approval, both referendums will be on the November 2018 general election ballot.

The problem is city voters in previous elections approved by huge margins both the instant runoff process and a limit of two terms, but council members are now saying that both are unfair.

Instant runoffs were approved years ago, but never implemented. They allow voters to rank their first, second and third choices on the ballot and would eliminate having to return to polling places at a later date for runoff elections.

As for term limits, some council members just believe that two four-year terms are not enough time to see big initiatives through to their completion.

Skeptics will argue that the council is only being self-serving which perhaps is true. At any rate, the next city election is in 2019 and voters are the ones who will have to resolve all this a second time.