State of Elections

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Tag: Municipal Elections

In a Battle Between the Delaware General Assembly and a Municipality, The Legislature Won: How A New Delaware Law Prevents Municipalities from Establishing Burdensome Registration Requirements for Municipal Elections

By: Ecker Owen

According to a fairly recent survey conducted by the United States government, some 25.7 percent of Americans traveled to the beach over the preceding twelve-month period.  Moreover, in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States, the beach season typically is considered to be between Memorial Day and Labor Day.  Therefore, many people from the surrounding areas and states take a week off of work in the summertime, travel to towns along the beach with their friends and families, and then go back to their normal existences after their vacations have concluded.  But in all of this seasonal transiency, there are several questions that the average vacationer would never even bother think about: what happens to beach communities during the other approximately nine months out of the year, and who continues to live in those places during that non-summer time period?  The fact remains that a sizeable number of individuals live in beach communities during non-peak months.  Furthermore, like other, more static communities, beach communities require the existence of local governments to provide services and write ordinances that protect their constituents.  Obviously, these municipal governments necessitate the presence of elected officials to execute the governing process.  However, problems arise over the question of whether individuals existing within these communities for short periods of time should have the right to vote in these municipal elections.
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WY: Proposal Allows County Residents to Vote in City Elections

By: Gordon Dobbs

In many states, people who live just outside of a city’s borders and who are affected by the city’s laws are nevertheless forbidden from voting in the city’s elections. The Supreme Court considered whether this practice is constitutional in 1978 in the case of Holt Civic Club v. City of Tuscaloosa. In Holt, the Court held that extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) statutes that extend municipal police, sanitary, business, and other similar regulatory powers over those living outside municipal boundaries are indeed constitutional, even when those residents cannot vote in municipal elections. The Court held that those who lived outside of Tuscaloosa’s borders had no constitutional right to vote in Tuscaloosa elections, and that it was reasonable for the city of Tuscaloosa to extend certain services to those residents and require them to pay fees to fund those services. This form of ETJ has its roots in post-World War II development booms on the fringes of urban areas in the United States. Some states have been fairly aggressive in their implementation of ETJ: Texas, for instance, allows cities of over 100,000 to extend their ETJ for five miles outside of the city’s boundaries, and cities have used this power to regulate everything from lot size to fireworks use in the county.

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Abysmal Voter Turnout and an Electoral Dinosaur: Indiana’s Meaningless Off-Year Municipal Elections

By: Jacob Kipp

All politics is local. That truism (often wrongly attributed to former Rep. Tip O’Neill) has long encouraged politicians to remember the people back home because, ultimately, those people will vote based on the issues that matter to them. But politics is looking a lot less local now. Local concerns have taken a backseat to partisan politics, and local candidates are looking more and more like extensions of their national counterparts. Perhaps these changes can help explain why municipal election voter turnout is plunging across the United States. Indiana, the state with the lowest voter turnout in the country for the 2014 midterm elections, held its most recent off-year municipal elections on November 3.

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Right to a Write-In Vote in South Carolina?

By: Lauren Coleman

Greenville, South Carolina, will become the largest municipality in South Carolina to cancel an election this upcoming November.  Mayor Knox White and three members of the City Council are running unopposed and will take office without going through a formal election process.

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