By AUBRIE GEORGE | The Moorestown Sun
This November, Moorestown voters will be asked to decide whether to allow nonprofit organizations to hold games of chance.
Fund raising events that involve games of chance, including bingo and raffles, are currently prohibited by a state statute that prohibits municipalities from doing so.
At Council’s Aug. 10 Council meeting, Township Clerk Patricia Hunt said the only way to change the current statute is by petition from residents or through a Council decision to place a referendum on the general election ballot.
At the same meeting, Council passed a resolution to allow a referendum question to go on the general election ballot asking residents if qualified nonprofits should be allowed to hold games of chance.
With the direction of Township Solicitor Thomas Coleman, Council decided to put two separate questions on the ballot — one asking residents if bingo should be allowed and another asking if raffles should be allowed.
Council decided to put two separate questions on the ballot in order to make it as easy as possible for residents to understand the referendum question.
“It seems like a hassle, but I want this to go as smoothly as possible,” said Coleman at the meeting.
The idea to change the current statute was brought up at the Aug. 10 meeting by Councilman Greg Gallo who said the change should be made because the current ordinance prohibits nonprofits from conducting fund raisers at township facilities such as the Lenola Firehouse and the Community House — which is currently undergoing renovations.
“I think we need to make it easier for people to get involved, volunteer and raise funds,” he said at the meeting.
At Council’s Sept. 14 meeting, Council approved an ordinance on first reading that will allow the change to go into immediate effect, if voters pass the referendum question.
If the change is successful it will apply to organizations or associations of veterans of any war in which the United States has been engaged, churches or religious congregations and religious organizations, charitable, educational and fraternal organizations, civic and service clubs, senior citizen associations and clubs, officially recognized volunteer fire companies and officially recognized volunteer first aid or rescue squads, according to the ordinance.
The ordinance is scheduled for public hearing and final adoption during Council’s Oct. 5 meeting.
On the Nov. 3 general election day, polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
A list of polling places according to voting district’s and a copy of the ordinance up for adoption are available through the township’s Web site, www.moorestown.nj.us.
Questions about voting and elections may be directed to Township Clerk Patricia Hunt at (856) 235–0912 or phunt@ moorestown.nj.us.