(8/1) With less then a month to before the closing of the filling deadline, not a single person in Emmitbsurg has put their name forward to appear on the ballet to fill one of the two open seats on the Town’s Board of Commissioners.
Candidates wishing to be listed on the printed election ballot must file before August 29, and individuals interested in becoming write-in candidates must file prior to September 20.
The two seats that will become vacant are those presently occupied by Commissioners Glenn Blanchard and Jennifer L. Mellor. Both of the positions up for election are three-year terms, with a compensation of $4,000 annually.
Blanchard, has already filed his paperwork to run, but there is no word on whether Mellor has decided to run for re-election.
The lack of interest in Emmitsburg Town elections is a new trend. Historically the town sees a 30% turn-out. Average turnout reaching an all time historical high of 70% in the early 1900s as male voters battled the duel issues of prohibition and women’s suffrage.
The last time Emmitbsurg saw voter turnout above 50% was during the COPE controversy in the early 2000s. Since then, voter turnout has steadily declined while at the same time the number of uncontested elections has gone up.
In 2014 Commissioner Joe Ritz won his seat on the town council in the last contested election with just 8% of the vote.
In 2015, Commissioners Tim O’Donnell and Clifford Sweeney were re-elected unopposed. Of the 1,692 registered voters in Emmitsburg, only 38, or 2% turned out for the election, the lowest turnout for any election since the founding of Emmitsburg in 1825.
Individuals interested in running for one of the open commissioners will be provided free space in the September issue of the News-Journal to introduce themselves to votes and state their goals for running.
Candidates elected will be sworn-in and assume their position on the town Board of Commissioners on October 4.
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