Originally created 02/06/01

No. Augusta decision

A motion last month by North Augusta City Councilman Arthur Shealy to make the citywide election voting date more convenient was voted down 6-1.

Shealy's proposal would have shifted the election of local officials from April of odd-numbered years to November of even-numbered years when federal, state and county elections are held.

Isolating the city election to an odd month on odd years, as Mayor Lark Jones cynically noted last month, ensures that "less informed" voters won't participate.

Shealy's right. More voters could be involved if the city election was held with other elections. It would boost competition, hopefully attracting more candidates.

Even though the general election isn't until April, today - Republican primary day - is North Augusta election day.

We wonder how many voters even know this. No Democrats have filed for April, so voters better make their voice heard today.

Mayor Jones and three city council members are running for re-election. Jones has no opponent and the three incumbents - Pat Carpenter, Phil Mottel and Shealy - are being challenged by Harry Weigle. The three top vote-getters will be declared the winners.

Two years ago, when three incumbent Republicans were also challenged by one outsider, only 848 of North Augusta's 9,594 registered voters showed up for the GOP primary - a pitiful turnout.

The present citywide election system isn't designed to discourage "no-nothing" voters so much as it is to ensure only "voters in the know" participate. North Augusta is a city, not a club. It must become more democratic.


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