Ceding control of city elections

Without dissent, Westminster City Council voted last night to surrender control of its municipal elections to the county’s elections office. It’ll mean that the county office, located in the county administrative complex in Walhalla, would assume responsibilities for advertising and conducting the elections. As Joy Brooks, the county elections director, explained during last night’s city council meeting, by allowing her paid staff to conduct the elections, the city won’t have to worry about having to recruit volunteer poll managers. Ceding municipal election control to the county was attempted once before. Brooks says the effort has been revived, partly due to the controversy over last year’s primary elections in which some candidates were knocked off the ballot. In response to a comment by City Administrator David Smith, Brooks admitted that the change would require Westminster candidates to make a trip to Walhalla to officially qualify, but she said exceptions to that could be allowed. The change is subject to County Council approval Tuesday. About the county council’s position, Brooks said, “I think they are on board with that.”