Frankford looks at changes to address election issues

To address procedural questions raised during the 2012 town council elections in Frankford, the town council is now considering possible changes to the town charter. The proposed changes would amend Chapter 401, Volume 62, Section 5, regarding the manner of holding elections and making nominations, to rely more heavily on state election code.

Language in the current Section 5 would be substituted with information about when the election will be held, and information about who is eligible to vote and who is eligible to run for council, but it would leave all other election-related information, including the conduct of general elections and absentee voting, to be governed by state code, as set out in Title 15, Chapter 75, of the Delaware Code.

“In order to resolve the conflicting terms of the state municipal election law and the Frankford charter, I have recommended that the Town defer to the supremacy of the state law in all procedural matters,” explained Town Solicitor Dennis Schrader at a Feb. 13 council meeting. “This should eliminate almost all of the problems that have been associated with this general election.”

The Frankford Board of Elections met on Jan. 26 to determine if resident Greg Welch was in fact a qualified candidate in the 2012 elections. It reversed a prior finding by town staff and the Department of Elections that he was not eligible and deemed him a qualified candidate based on an opinion received from Deputy Attorney General Ann Woolfolk that day, in which she cited state code.

The Board met again on Feb. 2 to consider issues related to the conduct of the general election including voter registration and advertisement of candidates.

As the change being considered by the council would make changes to the town charter, the council would not only need to pass the changes itself but would also need to receive approval from the state legislature, which much approve all municipal charter changes.

In other news from the Feb. 13 meeting:

• The town council introduced an ordinance requiring applicants for town approvals, permits, licenses and/or the use, receipt or provision of services to be current on all obligations to the Town of Frankford.

• The council also voted unanimously to have the Sussex County Recorder of Deeds take over the recording and documentation of property transfers, and they set a meeting date for the swearing in of re-elected council members for Tuesday, Feb. 21, at 7 p.m.