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Havre de Grace voters should ‘save the date’ for June 23 election, mayor says

Voters in Havre de Grace are encouraged to “save the date” in anticipation of this year’s City Council elections happening on June 23, following the postponement of the May 5 city election because of statewide restrictions meant to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, according to Mayor William T. Martin.

Tuesday, June 23, was selected following consultations among the mayor and members of his staff, the City Council president and the Harford County Board of Elections, Martin said during a council meeting May 18.

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“My goal, and I’m sure council agrees, was to have that election as soon as possible,” Martin said.

The council approved, on April 20, a resolution giving the mayor the authority to postpone the May 5 election, as all Marylanders were under a stay-at-home order issued by Gov. Larry Hogan at the time. A new election could happen within 60 days of the governor lifting his state of emergency.

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The stay-at-home order ended May 15, although numerous restrictions are still in place as the total number of cases of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, increases. The number of people being hospitalized for the disease has been declining, though.

Three seats on the six-member City Council are contested. Incumbent Council President David Glenn and councilmembers Casi Boyer and James Ringsaker are all seeking re-election, plus there is one challenger, Richard Wehner Sr.

The election will be held at Havre de Grace City Hall and be conducted in a manner similar to the special election in February, when more than 70% of voters approved a city initiative to raise up to $15 million in bond funds to repair or build new water and sewer infrastructure.

The council will vote on a resolution at its next meeting, June 1, setting the date, time and place of the election. Glenn noted, in an interview Friday, that the proposed election date is “tentative.”

“We’ll play it by ear right now,” he said when asked what could happen if conditions with COVID-19 change, possibly forcing another stay-at-home order.

“Like everybody else, we’re flying by the seat of our pants,” he added. “I’ll be glad when it’s all over.”

The mayor emphasized during the meeting that he is “just doing a save-the-date right now” with his announcement of the June 23 election.

“We really want to get that election done,” Martin said. “Nobody likes messing with the process of democracy, especially this council.”

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