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Akron Ballot Measure Could Shift Primary To May

This November, Akron voters will decide whether to move the city’s primary election from September to May.

More than 6,000 Akron voters signed petitions to get the measure on the ballot and city council approved it at a special meeting Tuesday evening.

Mayor Dan Horrigan, who supports the initiative, said a May primary would save taxpayers money and increase voter turnout.

Five city council members opposed the ballot measure – which triggered the petition process.

“What’s the rush? Why isn’t there more community dialogue?” said Ward 4 councilman Russel Neal, who abstained from Tuesday’s vote. “We’re talking about a city charter change on something that happens just once every four years.”

Neal said moving the primary to May disenfranchises grassroots campaigns and benefits incumbents.

“The longer campaign season – one that runs into the fall – not only gives the candidate a chance to get their message out, but it also gives the voter an opportunity to better vet the candidate,” said Neal.

In a statement, the city said September primaries conflict with state law “intended to ensure overseas voters, including active duty military, can participate fully in local elections.”

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