Councilwoman Rochelle “Rikki” Spector said she will introduce legislation Monday creating a charter amendment to hold city elections in the same year as presidential elections.
Spector, D-District 5, said that it cost the city $3.6 million to hold a standalone election in 2011, and that something needs to be done to improve turnout.
“We can’t afford a standalone election,” Spector said.
In 2011, only 25 percent of eligible Democrats cast a ballot for mayor in the primary election, and only 13.28 percent of all voters cast a ballot in the general election, according to the State Board of Elections.
Although Spector said she supports Democrats, she believes adjusting the city elections to be held in the same year as presidential elections would give Republican and Independent candidates a better shot at being elected.
Spector’s bill would move the next city election to 2016 if voters in Baltimore support the amendment.
Complicating matters is that the General Assembly must pass legislation to change the date of the city's primary elections. Currently, state law requires the city to hold its primary on the second Tuesday of the September following the year the governor is elected.
Ian Brennan, a spokesman for Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, said the mayor is working with the city’s General Assembly delegation to craft legislation shifting the city’s primary elections to be held in the same year as a presidential election, and supports Spector's legislation.
“It would be a significant cost savings to the city to not have to run independent elections,” Brennan said.