“All of us recognize,” Councilmember Rochelle “Rikki” Spector (D-5th District) began in introducing this bill, “that the stand-alone election that is unique to Baltimore” must be altered. Municipal elections cost about $3.6 million to stage and see voter turnouts in the 20 percent range, and, as Spector added, “Election day should not be a spectator sport. It should be a participative sport.” Councilmember Robert Curran (D-3rd District) pointed out that in 2004 “we had a 70 percent turnout” that “cost the city of Baltimore zero. For all the right reasons, if you want to get the best person in office, you have to have the best turnout.” This bill requires both a city charter amendment and action by the state General Assembly. It is going to see opposition in the general assembly from the Baltimore City League of Women Voters, which has been pushing a bill to hold Baltimore elections on gubernatorial election years (2014, ’18, etc.) instead of presidential years. The arguments: The presidential cycle leaves the current Council crop in place for five years, instead of three. Presidential primaries are in April—seven months before the general election—which means that the primary winners (who are almost always the general election winners in this very Democratic town) will have a very long wait before taking office the following January (the gubernatorial primary is in June). And, perhaps most significant, if the city moves to the presidential schedule, city and state officials will be able to run for each others’ offices while hanging on to their current positions. If we take the gubernatorial schedule, the politicians will risk their present office whenever they try to jump. This could displease folks like state Sen. Catherine Pugh (D-40th District), who ran for mayor in 2011, lost, and returned seamlessly to the senate for the 2012 session.