City Council votes to change election process, draws some opposition
Election time in Wilmington is an exciting time, traditionally, because of run-offs. For years, Wilmington elections have been in October of odd numbered years, to allow time for run-offs in November. That is going to change.
City Council voted Tuesday to change the city’s election method to what’s called non-partisan plurality. It will change election time from October to November and eliminate run-offs. In other words, the top vote getters win, period.
Former Elections Chair and new council member Margaret Haynes proposed the idea, and was backed by all of her fellow council members except Ron Sparks. “The current procedure, I think, is the fairest way to deal with the large number of people who actually run for office,” he said.
Sparks won in a run-off in 2007, but said that is not the reason he does not support the new method. He said, “The unknowns are not helped by this change in the rules. This change in the rule helps the known politicians and the known people.”
Haynes said the new method will increase voter turnout and save the city at least $75,000 this year. Still, that does not sway Sparks. “The amount of money that we spend in a run-off is not critical if you end up getting, excuse the phrase, the wrong person in.”
The change is final and come November, the top vote getters take all. Council members up for re-election in November are Jim Quinn, Margaret Haynes and Earl Sheridan, as well as Mayor Bill Saffo.
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