Voters to Choose When to Hold City's Elections
Manassas City voters will now be able to choose when the local elections for city council, school board and mayor will be held after enough signatures garnered to include referendum on the November general election ballot.
Deputy Registrar for the City of Manassas Anne Marie Bausch has confirmed that a local group advocating for government efficiency has gathered enough signatures of verified registered voters to have a referendum on the Nov. 6 general election ballot allowing city voters choose when local elections should be held.
Currently, the City of Manassas holds its local elections for city council, school board and mayor in May. But according to Manassas Votes volunteers, low voter turnout in the city elections indicates the need to move the local elections to November—something many jurisdicitons in the state have already done.
Manassas Votes volunteers such as Thomas Cotter have been posting themselves outside locations in Manassas since at least the beginning of July in an effort to garner at least 2,000 signatures (or 10 percent of registered voters in the city) by the end of the first week of August in order to have the referendum placed on the ballot. And they've succeeded, according to the registrar's office.
But Cotter, a longtime resident of the city and civics teacher at a Prince William County middle school located in the city, said he has been interested in increasing voter turnout in the city for a long time. He said his effort is not political, he's been interested in getting more people to actively pursue their civic duty in the city.
According to information provided by the registrar's office, voter turnout is traditionally less than 10 percent for local elections in the City of Manassas. Voter turnout for the contested May 2012 election was slightly higher than previous years but was still low with about 8.7 percent of registered voters participating.
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