City of Salisbury: No Immediate Plans to Eliminate Primary Election
SALISBURY, Md.- Absentee ballots for the City of Salisbury were counted on Thursday at the Wicomico County Board of Elections office. But after a low voter turnout earlier this week, there is now a debate as to whether there is a need for a primary election at all.
City resident Annise Morris said that elections officials would not have to do the extra work of counting absentee ballots if there was no primary in the first place.
"I just don't want my money to be spent on the primary election when I know that the general election is the one that is going to matter in the end anyway," Morris said.
Salisbury City Councilwoman Laura Mitchell said that having a primary election prior to the general election is important because it eliminates confusion and narrows the candidate pool.
She said that way, when voters go to the general election they get to pick one name for each open seat.
Mitchell said the biggest thing in such elections is that no one really knows how many people are going to run.
She said it can also increase the probability of having a statistical tie.
"When I ran two years ago, there were eight or nine of us in the field with three seats opened," she said. "So it was kind of a little bit different and a little daunting to some people when they go to the polls and they see nine names to choose from."
The councilwoman said she is aware of the fact that some people may question the $26,000 it costs taxpayers to even have a primary.
"We went through the budget discussions, we talked about it when we were doing the redistricting and doing all of the re-mapping you do every 10 years after the census and we discussed whether or not we continue with the primary. But it was the consensus of council to continue it for now but that could change at any time," she said.
Naomi Hayward, who is a longtime city resident, said she agrees with the councilwoman. She said she voted in the primary and plans to vote in the general election as well.
"You're supposed to have something to feast on," Hayward said, "I want to see some new faces in there, it already has old people but I think the newer people will have new views."
Some other people like Carole Johnson said forget the primary. Even the general election is not on her mind.
"Oh, I'm not going to go up there and vote because I think it's a waste of time," Johnson said. "I feel like it's set in stone; everybody already knows who is going to win ahead of time."
The District 1 race is a close one in which April Jackson and Cynthia Polk each picked up 12 additional votes with Polk remaining one vote ahead of Jackson. Incumbent Shanie Shields is in the lead with 69 votes.
In District 2, incumbent Debbie Campbell has 313 votes, Jake Day with 836 and Jack Heath with 218 votes.
The top two vote getters advance to the general election in April.