For each At-Large City Council race, two candidates will win and fill two seats, so each voter can vote for up to two candidates in each race. Some voters for some races choose to employ a strategy known as “bullet voting” — i.e., voting only for their single preferred candidate, so as not to dilute the power of that vote by helping any other candidate with one’s second vote.
The wording on our ballots has changed this year. In 2017 and earlier elections, the At-Large City Council races said, “VOTE FOR NOT MORE THAN TWO,” implying that there’s an option to vote for fewer if one chose to. In Newton’s 2019 ballots, that wording has changed to, “Vote for TWO,” perhaps implying that for a ballot to be valid, a voter must vote for two candidates in those races. That would seem to discourage “bullet voting” or perhaps imply a restriction against it.
City Clerk David Olson assures me that despite the change in wording, “Nothing has changed. As always voters can vote for as few as they want. The wording reflects the wording on State Ballots.”
Bullet voting remains legal, but you must be registered to use it.