Majority approves changing election date

May 19, 2009|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- A vast majority of Hagerstown voters approved a ballot question during the city election Tuesday to change the dates on which future municipal elections will be held.

The vote was 2,451 in favor and 462 against, according to unofficial results from the Washington County Board of Elections.

Despite the results of Tuesday's election, the Hagerstown City Council will have the final say on whether to change the election dates, City Attorney William Nairn said last week.

"It's not a mandatory ballot question," Nairn said.

He said the issue probably will be addressed by the next council, members of which will take office June 1.

The ballot question asked voters whether they wanted to change the dates on which the city holds its primary and general elections to coincide with the presidential ones.

The city's primary and general elections currently are held in March and May in the years between gubernatorial and presidential elections.


In February, the City Council voted 5-0 to put the question on the ballot after election officials told the council that the city could save $60,000 to $125,000 if the dates of elections were changed.

The city currently pays the cost of municipal elections because they are held separately, said Dorothy Kaetzel, director of the Washington County Board of Elections.

She said the state would pick up a majority of the cost if the municipal elections were changed to piggyback on gubernatorial or presidential elections.

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