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Bristol Virginia looking to move local elections

By Megan Brantley, mbrantley@wcyb.com
Published On: Jan 08 2013 04:11:31 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 08 2013 04:12:00 PM CST

The City Council in Bristol, Virginia has asked the Election Commission to look into moving local elections from May to November.

BRISTOL, Tenn. -

The city council in Bristol, Virginia has asked the election commission to look into moving local elections from May to November.

“If we were to move the may election that would be one less election we would be having; there would be some cost savings," said Penny Limburg, the general registrar for Bristol, Virginia.

Limburg told us it would be a savings of nearly $6,000 a year.

We found out that wasn't the only benefit to the change; she said the attendance was noticeably different and more people would vote later in the year. "We have a higher voter turnout in our November elections, there is no question about that," said Limburg.

She showed us the numbers of how many people voted in this past election. Out of 12, 200 registered voters, less than 2,000 voted.

However, Limburg tells us more voters may not necessarily be a good thing. "Yes, you might have a higher turnout, but do you have a more informed electorate as far as your local race?" asked Limburg.

Limburg says some fear the candidates would not get enough publicity. "We just got through a presidential election, a lot of campaigns going on, campaign ads. So some do feel like local candidates could get lost in all of that," she said.

She says it could also sway the vote. "Sometimes when you bring in party politics from some of the federal offices or even some of the state races that could influence the make-up of how our council runs their race," said Limburg.

"Anybody could follow that candidate and go right into office,” said Mayor Jim Steele.

But Mayor Jim Steele says it's ultimately about what the people want. "If they want to speak out about it tonight and tell us they want it in November, then we'll listen to the people," he said.