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Hearing to be held on election petitions

October 10, 2003|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

andrews@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A proposal to amend a section in the city's charter on election petitions met resistance from a city councilman Thursday night.

City Recorder Sharon Flick asked the Martinsburg City Council to consider changing the time period for mayoral and council candidates to submit nominating petitions.

Candidates currently may submit petitions between March 1 and 31.

Flick said she'd like to make the filing period from Feb. 1 to 28, which would give the city's printer more time to create a general election ballot that easily can be understood. The company prints ballots for almost every county in the state, she said.

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Martinsburg is said to have the most confusing general election ballot of any municipality in West Virginia, Flick said.

The city is unique in that it has executive committees for its political committees. Therefore, voters must be asked their political party so they get the right ballot. Flick said that may be expected in a primary, but it's confusing for voters in a general election.

Councilman Christopher Baker objected to the proposed change. He said he would prefer that the petition submission period be from Feb. 15 to March 15, in case a snowy February prevents candidates from collecting signatures.

Baker pointed out that if one council member votes against a change to the city register at a public hearing, the issue would have to be sent to the public for a vote.

Mayor George Karos noted that candidates may collect signatures at any time. The period only limits when petitions may be submitted.

Councilman Glenville Twigg suggested eliminating the city's political party executive committees, which are inactive, but Flick said she has heard of interest in rejuvenating them.

A public hearing on the proposal will be held Nov. 18.

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