Voter eligibility has been a rather constant, if understated, subject in this community for some time.
While Fenwick Island, South Bethany and Bethany Beach allow non-resident property owners to vote, the preponderance of towns not directly on the coast do not.
We’re pretty divided on this one.
On one hand, we see the argument that anybody who pays taxes to a municipality, and is subject to the decisions made by the town council, should indeed have the right to help decide who fills those town council positions. But on the other side, we understand that those people who are not here all year might not fully understand all the issues at hand, and could have personal agendas that are different than those that benefit the year-round populace.
It’s tricky, and it’s being dissected right now in Ocean View.
Per the town’s charter, Ocean View has to redistrict in 2010. One idea, originally proposed by resident Ira Broadman and pushed by former Ocean View Town Council Member Roy Thomas, would have the town divide into three districts that would be represented by a resident property owner of that district, and only resident property owners could vote. There would then be a fourth district comprised of non-resident property owners, and they could vote for their own council member.
It’s an interesting idea, and one that could get knocked down quickly, but one that should at least be discussed.
Of course, the point might be moot, as any change in voting eligibility would first have to be agreed to by the town council, and then get the go-ahead from the state — which has not historically supported non-residents’ voting rights.
On Tuesday, July 28, the Ocean View Town Council will hold a special meeting at town hall to discuss this subject. The meeting will be at 7 p.m. and the only item on the agenda is the proposed charter change. If nothing else, at least the subject will be discussed in depth.
We love to tout our local volunteers, and how much they do on a day-to-day basis.
The Ladies Auxiliary of VFW Post 1324 recently hosted a crab feast for “Warrior Weekend” participants. The group is composed of soldiers and Marines who have been injured in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Well done, Ladies Auxiliary, and thank you.