Regardless of the result at the polls Aug. 7, Springfield will not have a City Council primary in February.Held whenever three or more candidates file for the same council seat, the primary has suffered from low turnout and comparatively high costs in recent years.Council members decided in May to ask voters to do away with the February contest, but state legislators and Gov. Jay Nixon beat them to it.A bill Nixon signed into law earlier this month eliminates the February election date for everything but bond issues and the presidential primary; the bill also axes the June election date, which the city at times has used for tax renewals and petition elections.
Because of low voter turnout, the option to vote is being taken away. With our governor's blessing, no less. By using cost as a determining factor, they make it even more arbitrary and dangerous. Since when is the privilege of voting subject to cost analysis?
Believe me, there will be more coming on this.Opponents say the price is justified. Groups including Live Free Springfield and the newly formed Citizens Rights Coalition have said the lack of a primary could make it more difficult to unseat incumbents and could allow candidates to be elected without majority support.“(The primary) was instituted because people were getting elected with less than 20 percent of the vote, and that will happen again,” said Sharlee Lawless, a spokeswoman for the Citizens Rights Coalition.