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Akron, Ohio

Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan Joins Other Summit County Mayors to Unveil Proposal to Improve Local Primary Elections

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Proposal will ask voters whether to move Akron Primary Election from September to May

City of Akron Press Release
From the desk of Ellen Lander Nischt, Press Secretary
Published: 07-03-2018

Akron, Ohio, July 3, 2018 Today, Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan and City Council leaders Margo Sommerville and Jeff Fusco announced plans to seek voter approval of a proposal designed to reduce unnecessary spending on elections, uphold the voting rights of overseas military service members, and increase voter turnout by moving the local primary election from September to May. Joining Akron in parallel efforts are the cities of Barberton, Cuyahoga Falls, Green, New Franklin, and Tallmadge. Legislation will be introduced on July 9, with hopes that Akron City Council will pass the ordinance before heading into recess at the beginning of August.

By combining the local primary with the existing state primary in May, the City of Akron will save significant taxpayers funds—estimated conservatively at $82,774 each local election year. Actual savings are expected to be higher if and when other Summit County communities move their primaries to May, as well. “This initiative will allow us to limit unnecessary spending on elections and is an effective way for our local communities to partner together to simply our election calendar and improve the voting experience for our residents,” Mayor Horrigan added.

Candidates for Akron Mayor and City Council are nominated at a Primary Election, on the date provided for in Section 4 of Akron’s Charter. The current local primary is set for September (the “eighth Tuesday prior” to the general municipal election.) This places the local primary only 56 days before the November general election.  Because of the close proximity of the two elections, the existing September primary creates difficulty for the Board of Elections in certifying primary election results in time to properly and timely issue general election ballots to military voters stationed overseas.   

 “Allowing more time between the Primary and General Elections will ensure that military service members are able to easily and accurately participate in our local elections while deployed,” Mayor Horrigan said. “I’m not comfortable supporting a September primary date that puts us at odds with the voting rights of military members serving our country overseas, especially not when moving our local primary to May is a simple fix.  I’m grateful to Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro and my fellow mayors for their shared support of this good governance effort.” 

Finally, the proposal is expected to result in increased voter turnout. On average, voter turnout is 46% higher in the May Primary than in September. “This change will be more convenient for Akron voters and empower more of our neighbors to have a voice in choosing who represents them in City Hall,” Council President Margo Sommerville said of the initiative. “I hope my fellow council members in Akron, and across Summit County, will join me in passing legislation to place this issue on the ballot in November. As with any change to the Charter, our role as Council members is to give our residents the opportunity to decide what is best; and I’m confident they will see the many benefits of this common sense proposal.”

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For further information, contact:
Ellen Lander Nischt
Press Secretary / Assistant Director of Law
166 South High Street
Suite 200
Phone: 330 375-2325
E-mail: [email protected]

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