I checked today with City Attorney Tom Carpenter to confirm my understanding of requirements to be elected mayor, given this year’s five-way race and the chance no candidate will receive a majority of the votes.
If there’s no majority vote winner, a candidate must gain 40 percent of the vote to win. This is established by statute and enabling ordinance, Carpenter said. There’s a separate statute governing mayor-council cities that
There is no minimum vote requirement for city board seats. The candidate with the most votes
Bryan Poe at the Election Commission followed up with the specific statutory and ordinance references:
For a candidate to win the Little Rock Mayor’s race outright, he will need to win a minimum of 40% of the vote. Otherwise, the two candidates with the most votes will compete in the General Election Runoff to be held on December 4, 2018. This is in accordance with ACA § 14-61-111 (b)(1)(A):
(b) (2) (A) At a special or general election on the question of whether to directly elect the mayor, a majority of the qualified electors voting on the issue may also vote to require that a successful candidate for mayor receive a minimum percentage, less than fifty percent (50%), of the total votes cast for the position of mayor in order to be elected mayor without a runoff.
and Little Rock Ordinance 16435, Section 2 (Adopted at a referendum of LR voters conducted on July 27, 1993):
A successful candidate for mayor must receive forty percent ( 40 %) of the total votes cast for mayor in order to be elected mayor without a runoff…
PS: There’s another wrinkle on elections. State law requires a runoff in cities with city manager government, such as Little Rock, to hold runoffs two weeks after the election. The law was changed to provide a four-week delay in 2017, but Pulaski Election Coordinator Bryan Poe said city manager cities were inadvertently overlooked in the bill drafting. The city has taken the position the two-week period should be followed. But Poe said this puts the commision in a position to be out of kilter with other laws that didn’t exist when the two-week period was adopted in 1989. Military ballots must be given 10 days after the election for return, to name one particular problem, along with reprogramming machines for a new election. Early voting would have to begin for a two-week runoff before the candidates in a runoff were certified, Poe said. So the commission has decided to adhere to the four-week period. As yet, no one has complained.