By AUBRIE GEORGE | The Marlton Telegram
Will the township’s municipal election continue to take place in May or will it be switched to the general election?
The answer to that question will be up to voters, after an attempt to repeal the ordinance that places the question on the November ballot was shot down last week.
Before a special council meeting last week, Deputy Mayor Joe Howarth introduced an ordinance to repeal the ordinance passed by the previous Council which places a referendum on this year’s general election ballot, asking residents to decide whether voting on Council candidates should be switched from the township’s non-partisan, biennial May election to the general election.
“I believe the election should be in May,” Howarth said. “I believe it keeps our town autonomous, I believe it keeps our town separate. It lets the people who are concerned about the town on a day-to-day basis continue to come out and voice their opinion. I also believe that it doesn’t jumble everything up.”
Howarth used the 2004 presidential election as an example, pointing out that more people voted for the presidential candidates than the municipal candidates.
“There’s a huge disparity between the presidential, the freeholders’ race and the Council race,” he said.
Howarth also said that the primary race in June, which chooses November’s candidates, has a small voter turnout as well.
“In one argument, you’re looking at people who are saying we can’t get anybody out to an election to elect somebody, but the same thing is going to happen — we’re not going to get anybody to come out to a primary to chose the candidates,” he said.
Howarth said he was concerned with the haste, and that the previous Council passed the ordinance after losing the election. He said he believed the action was politically driven.
Mayor Randy Brown said that was not the case.
“It was so far from political,” Brown said.
Brown said the previous Council’s decision was done out of good government and that it was done to save taxpayer money and increase voter turnout.
See this week’s print edition of The Telegram for the full story.