Friday, June 5, 2009

Polling Places Set For 2009....So What About Next Time?

From sources close to the situation, I understand that there have been some problems with the location of city polling places. Despite the strong educational (lobbying) ties enjoyed by a couple members of the council, most polling places located at public schools remain off limits.

I am going to publish a list of the new polling places now--not because I think you don't know, but because I foresee a need to reference this list, and I would much rather search for it on my own website as opposed to any other.

In parentheses are the previous locations.

Ward 1:
Maryland Hall (Bates Middle)
Parks and Rec Building on St. Mary's St. (Annapolis Elementary)

Ward 2:
Trinity United Methodist Church (Germantown Elementary)
Taylor Ave. Fire House (West Annapolis Elementary)

Ward 3:
Who Cares!
Just Kidding.
City Department of Transportation (Parole Elementary)
West St. Library (Same)

Ward 4:
Heritage Baptist Church (Same)
American Legion Building (Same)

Ward 5:
Salvation Army (Annapolis Middle)
Salvation Army (both precincts will vote here instead of just 1)

Ward 6:
Mt. Moriah AME Church (Tyler Heights Elementary)
Eastport Community Center (Same)

Ward 7:
Georgetown East Elementary (Same, apparently for both precincts, because no suitable location could be substituted and the law required the school's use)

Ward 8:
Eastport Fire Station (Same)
Eastport Fire Station (Eastport Elementary)

The mayor has been quoted as saying that the changes could cost the city $200,000. Special elections, which happen when sitting Aldermen leave their posts to run for other offices, cost the city something like $50,000 each I think. You may be sensing a need to explain why the city has elections in odd years.

I asked at least 1 person if they knew when or why the city started breaking with the election cycles of other jurisdictions, and that person didn't know. Since asking more than 1 person would make this blogging thing a profession rather than a hobby, I quickly ended my quest for this answer, and watched a rerun of Hey Dude.

Here are the reasons why it might be beneficial to keep the city elections on the same cycle:

-It's hard to change the process and nobody can agree on the way to do it.
-Having the city election as the only one going on at a particular time means people will pay more attention to it and it won't get lost in other campaigns.
-Voters are theoretically more educated because they are focusing only on one election.

And here are the reasons why the city might want to change the elections to align with the elections the county, state, and/or national government:

-It saves money because the county will already have to set up the polling places.
-We wouldn't have a problem finding polling guessed it, because they will already be in use.
-Elected officials looking to further their political career won't have to resign if they are elected (since the election won't be in the middle of their aldermanic term).
-Voter turnout would be higher and city officials will be elected by a higher percentage of the voters.

Hopefully I haven't missed any major reasons.

For me, the city should share an election cycle. Political apathy is no doubt a problem, but the reduction in that problem is outweighed by the new problems created by an off-year election. And if any Aldermen are reading this, you can't try and extend the term you are already serving.


M. Dye said...

Good to have you back blogging. I believe offset elections are done so that City problems are the only focus. If done in state years (e.g., 2006, 2010), city offices would be so far down-ballot only the most dedicated or partisan would bother casting a vote. If in Presidential years (e.g., 2008, 2012) at least the ballot would be much shorter, but almost all the focus would be on the national race.

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that Mayor Moyer is concerned about the money that must be spent in moving our polling places.

She's blown millions in the taxpayer's money, without so much as a blink of the eye. But, spending a few extra bucks on our "elections" is suddenly an issue.

She's always been irritated by those pesky voters.

Bob McWilliams