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Councilwoman Spector Seeks Shift in Election Date

A charter amendment that would move the next citywide elections to 2016 is scheduled to be introduced at tonight's City Council meeting.

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.

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Sean Tully January 24, 2012 at 06:46 AM
I thought we already voted to move our elections? I totally agree with this move, but it seems like the ball is in the GA's court. Do we have to vote again? That's silly.
Stephen Gewirtz January 24, 2012 at 12:27 PM
In a presidential election year, the primary is held very early (since delegates to national conventions must be chosen, and the conventions are in the summer). In a gubernatorial election year, the primary is held in September. If we do not want a long interval between the primary and the general election, we should hold our city election at the same time as the gubernatorial election. The only reason for holding it at the time of the presidential election is to allow city politicians, unlike county politicians, to be able to run for state office without giving up reelection to city offices. Spector's proposal should be defeated.
AnnKangarouse January 24, 2012 at 05:20 PM
"The only reason for holding it at the time of the presidential election is to allow city politicians, unlike county politicians, to be able to run for state office without giving up reelection to city offices. Spector's proposal should be defeated." ** Thanks for posting this tidbit of information Stephen. This make a LOT of sense, considering SRB plans to leave her city mayoral seat and move onto the state level in the next several years.**
Sean Tully January 25, 2012 at 12:03 AM
Yes, I got the full details in the Sun this morning. I totally agree that the city should be with the state even if it means elected offficials get shorted one year. Heck, most of them got an extra year last time around.
Scott Carberry January 25, 2012 at 01:54 AM
Even though this would postpone my running against Council Woman Spector for a second time until 2016, I completely support her efforts. It just makes sense.

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