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Primaries eliminated in Jefferson City

Primaries eliminated in Jefferson City

April 9th, 2014 in News

Jefferson City no longer will hold primaries for municipal offices after voters approved a change to the City Charter on Tuesday.

More than 73 percent of Jefferson City voters approved the change, which eliminates the need for city primaries.

In October 2012, the City Council approved a March primary date after state law took away February primary dates, except in cases where a charter city specifically required a February election in the city charter.

Because Jefferson City's charter does not specifically require a February primary, only that a primary election must take place, the council had set the 2013 primary for March.

That date created some difficulty as the ballots for the April general election are printed before the March primary date. Another issue is that absentee voting is allowed six weeks before election day, which means absentee voting would begin before the primary has been held.

City primaries are held only when three or more candidates file for the same city office, with the top two candidates squaring off in an April general election.

If one candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, no general election is held and that candidate wins the office.

Last year, the city stated eliminating the primary could save about $28,000 per year in election costs.

City Attorney Drew Hilpert said eliminating the primary was the best choice available after the state law took effect and it seemed like the people agreed.

"It preserved the need for elections, but also saves money," Hilpert said. "Seems like the most logical outcome, and I guess that's what the public agreed with."