Akron voters will decide in November whether or not the city's primary election will be held in September, as it has been, or move to May, as the Mayor's Office is proposing.
City Council held a special meeting Tuesday, approving the ballot measure, after the Board of Elections verified more than 6,100 signatures that Mayor Dan Horrigan's Office collected. The Mayor's efforts exceeded the requirement per the Board of Election, as he actually collected nearly 9,200, and only needed a little more than 4,200 valid, Akron resident's signatures.
See the full press release from the City of Akron below:
Akron, Ohio, September 5, 2018 – A ballot measure to move the local primary election from September to May—to better comply with state law regarding overseas and military ballots, increase voter turnout and save taxpayer money—will come before Akron voters this November. More than 6,100 Akron voters signed petitions submitted to Council, requesting the opportunity to vote on the issue. The grassroots petition effort spearheaded by Mayor Horrigan, Council President Sommerville and Vice President Fusco well exceeded the number of signatures required to place the issue on the ballot. Council approved the petition-initiated measure at a special meeting held yesterday evening.
The May primary proposal was first announced in early July as a joint effort by several Summit County communities that currently hold primaries in September. September primaries, which predate early voting laws, now conflict with state law intended to ensure overseas voters, including active duty military, can participate fully in local elections. This change would provide ample time for the Board of Elections to certify results before the general election. For Akron, a May primary would save taxpayers more than $80,000 each election and could increase voter turnout by about 46%. Cities in 85 out of 88 Ohio counties and the State of Ohio already hold primaries in May.
A majority of Akron City Council supported the ballot measure. However, five Council members (Sims, Omobien, Neal, Kilby, and Milkovich) opposed placing the issue before Akron voters. Therefore, the petition process was initiated and successfully completed to enable Akron voters to decide when their local primary should be held. Pleased with an efficient and effective petition drive, Mayor Horrigan added, “This is democracy at work. City and Council leadership felt strongly that this is exactly the type of issue that should be put before voters. Our petition signers agreed, and helped us put this common-sense measure where it belongs, which is on the ballot.”
More information about the May primary proposal is available here. The ballot measure will be assigned an issue number by the Board of Elections next week. It will be presented to Akron voters on the upcoming November ballot as provided below:
Shall Section 4 of the Charter of the City of Akron be amended to move the primary election date for municipal elections to the first Tuesday after the first Monday in May consistent with the primary election date established by state law?