Laurel’s mayor John Shwed has taken a stand most municipalities haven’t ad the courage to do; update the town’ voting laws which will open the door for more citizens to vote.
After some hanky panky moves by the Smyrna Town Council, an abuse of voting rights, As State Election Commissioner, to the dismay and opposition of many town in Sussex County introduces and had passed an election reform bill that made all municipalities adhere to the same standards as state elections.
As a compromise, as in most legislation, you have to give to get, the towns were allowed some flexibility, especially in the area of voter registration. The 2000 Help America Vote Act eliminated photo ID’s and instituted other forms of ID and you can not remove a person from the election rolls if they miss two general elections.
Almost every town opted to continue knocking people of the rolls thereby in most instances reducing the number of people eligible to vote, making it easier for an incumbent to be re-elected. When you have only a few hundred registered voters, and only 20% of them show up to vote, it doesn’t take a genius to figure the number of votes it will take to win; a handful.
People miss elections for various reasons and shouldn’t be punished.
Mayor Shwed has opted to change that by eliminating that section of the charter. He is also asking for background checks on all candidates; lack of a background check allowed a candidate to appear on the ballot; he later withdrew a day before the election.
The big question remains; will this proposal lie on the table and be forgotten or enacted. Councilman Don Phillips stated with the next election two years away their is no hurry to pass these charter changes.
This scares me.