This recognizes the limitations of state law for implementing proportional representation at the county level, including the limits on commission districts and ballot access requirements for third parties. For partisan elections in Tennessee, we need the chance to vote independent. Now we will have it.
Shall the Knox County Charter be amended by deleting § 2.03 A; §§6.01 B, C, and D; and § 8.01; and inserting all of the following in the locations specified:
Sec. 2.03. – Membership and election; district, seats, reapportionment and redistricting.
A. The Commission members shall be elected by the people of Knox County in the following manner:
(1) The Commission under this Charter shall consist of eleven (11) members elected from eleven (11) districts, and fourteen (14) at-large members chosen in compensatory manner by county-wide vote as specified in 2.03 A (2). The eleven (11) members elected by districts shall be residents of and represent the districts from which they are elected. Candidates running for at-large seats shall be listed separately according to which party they are a member of, if any, or as Independent/unaffiliated. For the purposes of section 2.03 A, the term “independent” shall include all candidates in Tennessee who would appear on the Knox County ballot as “Independent” under Tennessee law, and shall not exclude members of any political party that the state of Tennessee or Knox County does not recognize for ballot access. For the purposes of section 2.03 A, and 2.03 A only, the term “party” shall be inclusive of independents as if “Independent” constituted its own political party.
(2) Voters may rank any or all of the district candidates they choose in the order they prefer, and to win in a district a candidate must reach a 50% quota in the manner of the instant run off. Voters may also rank two (2) parties, and for each party selected, they may rank as many of its at-large candidates in the order they prefer. For a party to receive an at-large vote, a voter must have ranked that party first, unless the voter’s first choice party is disqualified, or as provided under 2.03 A (4). The number of at-large seats granted to each party shall equal the total number of seats they win by party vote, minus the number of seats that party won in districts. Each party shall win a fraction of the total number of seats on the commission, which shall be equal to the number of votes the party received divided by the number of votes cast, except that that fraction must represent a minimum of one seat in order to qualify for any at-large seats; and if the fraction does not result in a whole number of seats, then the number shall be rounded down and the unassigned seats shall be distributed in the manner of the “Method of Equal Proportions.”
(3) No party, having won a commission district seat in the manner specified, shall have that seat removed or reassigned, except that a party that has elected more candidates in districts than the total number that party has won, shall not receive any at-large seats, and all parties shall start out with the number of seats they won in districts, but all qualifying parties shall start out with at least 1 seat, even if they have won no districts, and the remaining seats shall be apportioned using the method of equal proportions.
(4) If a party qualifies for a number of seats that is larger than the number of candidates running for that party, then all at-large candidates from that party are elected, and the party shall retain no more than the portion of each ballot that would elect them to the number of seats they can fill, the rest to be transferred to second-choice party, if any, indicated by voters. The value carried by a ballot to the at-large candidates of each party shall be no more than the value carried to the party.
(5) Quotas for at-large candidates: individual at-large candidates shall be chosen separately for each party and for independents in the manner of the Single Transferable Vote, except that they shall meet a quota equal to the number of votes received by that candidate’s party, excepting ballots where no candidates have been ranked, divided by one more than the number of at-large seats received by their party. The instant runoff shall be permitted for parties receiving only a single at-large seat.
(6) The regular terms of Commission members shall be four (4) years. Those commissioners elected two (2) years after the adoption of this amendment shall serve an extended term of 6 years, after which the new districts shall be drawn and all seats shall be elected to regular terms according to the terms of this amendment.
6.01 B The Board of Education under this charter shall consist of nine (9) members elected according to the Single Transferable Vote
6.01 C: At the county general election, all candidates for Knox County school board shall appear on the ballot, and voters shall be entitled to rank as many candidates from their district as desired. Districts A and C shall choose 3 candidates each during years that coincide with the election for president, and district B shall choose 3 candidates during mid-term election years.
6.01 D: The districts existing at the time this amendment is accepted, shall be combined into three districts, A, B, and C, as follows: District A shall include the previous districts of Districts 1, 4, and 9. District B shall include the previous districts of 3, 5, and 6. District C shall include the previous districts of 2, 7, and 8. To transition to the new districts, the final term of district 6 and 7 shall be extended by two years. Following the transition, all three districts shall choose candidates for regular terms of 4 years. The Commission may from time to time alter the boundaries of districts so long as all districts contain as near as possible the same population and elect the same number of seats, and comply with all constitutional requirements. On or before December 31,1991, and every ten (10) years thereafter, it shall be the duty of the Commission, based upon the most recent Federal decennial census, to reapportion the Board of Education districts so as to comply with constitutional requirements.
A) This charter shall not be construed as to require a primary election, whether partisan or non-partisan, for any office; however, if by some authority a primary is required for election to Knox County office, then the form of the primary for each office shall be the same as the form of the general election for that office and shall choose the same number of winners, excepting that a non-partisan primary shall use the single transferable vote to choose a number of seats that is twice the number chosen in the general election.
B) Single Transferable Vote defined. Single Transferable Vote shall refer exclusively to a method of choosing multiple seats, either at large or in districts, where:
(1) voters rank candidates on their ballot in the order of the voter’s choosing,
(2) each ballot shall count exclusively for the eligible candidate ranked highest, until the first candidate has been elected
(3) candidates shall be elected who meet a quota equal to the number of votes cast divided by one more than the number of seats being chosen, rounded up to the nearest whole percent of the vote.
(4) ballots shall be counted in rounds
(5) in a round where no candidate meets the quota, the candidate with the fewest votes shall become ineligible and be longer a candidate
(6) in a round where a candidate meets the quota, that candidate shall be considered elected.
(7) when a candidate exceeds the threshold, the number of votes they received in addition to the quota shall be broken into a fraction applied equally to all ballots counting towards the candidate elected in that round, such that a ballot counting its full value to the elected candidate will transfer the fraction to candidates at the next available ranking, but a ballot counting a partial value to the elected candidate shall transfer only a fraction of the portion counting toward the elected candidate.
(8) The county commission may by statute adopt rules for counting, either by machine, or, if properly functioning machines are not available, then by hand, which comply with these rules, or that produce a result of equal or superior accuracy to these rules. If no statute is adopted providing for such detailed rules, then the Scottish method of dividing ballots into bundles, first according to the highest ranked candidate, then according to the candidates ranked next, and so on, in order to keep track of the transfer value applied to each ballot.
C Instant runoff defined—the instant runoff shall refer exclusively to an election having only a single winner, in which voters have ranked their candidates, and the ballots shall be counted in rounds, and a candidate elected who achieves 50% of the vote, and in any round where no candidate reaches 50%, the candidate having the fewest votes shall be eliminated and transfer their votes to the next-ranked eligible candidate, but the election shall end when a candidate reaches 50%, or when only a single eligible candidate remains, and no elected candidate shall transfer any votes. The instant runoff may not be used in any multi-seat district, but the single transferable vote shall be used instead. Any district that is required, by state law or any other authority, to have all seats separately designated shall be drawn as a single-seat district, other provisions in this charter notwithstanding.
D) For both B and C, in any round where two or more candidates are tied for elimination, out of those candidates in the tie the one shall be eliminated who had the fewest votes in the most recent previous round of counting before the tie occurred. If no such previous round exists, then the candidate shall be eliminated who appears on the fewest ballots at all rankings.
E) For both B and C, batch elimination shall be permitted, in the first round of counting, of all candidates appearing at all rankings on a total number of ballots that is less than 10% of the quota, unless the number of candidates remaining would be less than the number of seats.