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City Considers Changing Its Election Cycles

Winners of Annapolis' 2013 municipal elections could serve an extra year so that the next election syncs up with Maryland's elections.

The Annapolis City Council is considering a charter amendment that would sync city elections with state and federal election cycles.

The amendment, proposed by the city's Charter Revision Commission, would extend the terms of Council members elected in 2013 by one year so the next city elections would coincide with the General Assembly's 2018 elections.

"The big plus is that it saves the city a lot of money by piggybacking on the state election," commissioner Nick Berry said. "That means that the state will pick up the tab."

In 2009, Annapolis spent $112,918 on its municipal elections, according to City Clerk Regina Watkins-Eldridge.

Combining the elections could also increase voter turnout, but Berry said that may also inject state and national politics into Annapolis elections. Voters from one party could be pushed to the polls in higher numbers because of a particular issue that doesn't pertain to Annapolis.

Alderman Richard Israel (D-1st Ward) was concerned that Annapolis' elections would be buried at the bottom of what could often be a long ballot.

"I think they would be an afterthought," Israel said.

Annapolis' races would fall below all federal, state and county races and ballot referendums.

"That is a very long ballot, and we are about to experience the effect of a very long ballot," Berry said.

He added that the long ballot problem may be why Chesapeake City is the only place in Maryland that syncs its municipal elections with the presidential elections.

Bowie will also elect its Council members in 2013, and Baltimore had its last municipal elections in 2011.

The proposal is now headed to the Rules and City Government Committee.

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