Report: Rockville’s 2011 Election Problems Spur Changes for 2013
The Gazette: Rockville didn’t have a legal mechanism for candidates to withdraw; final campaign finance filing dates would be earlier.
Rockville's mayor and City Council reached a consensus but did not vote on policy changes on Monday regarding local elections, including one that would permit candidates to officially withdraw from city elections, The Gazette reported.
Still another change would change the filing date for campaign finances.
One policy change is the result of a quandary that arose in 2011 when City Council candidate Joseph Jordan dropped out of the election, but his name was on the ballots because the city had no legal mechanism for candidates to withdraw.
Jordan received 382 votes.
The council also supported moving the final campaign-finance reporting deadline to the Monday of the week before the election, the newspaper reports.
The 2011 deadline was the Thursday before Election Day.
“It doesn't match the ability for the local newspapers to pick up the data and publish it,” Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio said during Monday's meeting. She was referencing The Gazette, which is published weekly.
“It isn't just the press. We need to be as transparent as we can,” Councilwoman Bridget Donnell Newton said.
Councilman Tom Moore said an earlier deadline would give the media and the public more time to process the information.
The move goes against the Rockville election board’s request to keep the deadline the same.
Lois Neuman, chairwoman of the city’s election board, said last-minute donations could be left out if the filing deadline was made earlier. She questioned the relevance of accommodating a newspaper deadline in a digital age.
"There really are no deadlines, such as newspapers, that we need to deal with in a 24-7, 365 world,” Neuman told council members during a Feb. 11 meeting. “So, using the deadline for The Gazette seemed to be an antiquated way of looking at deadlines."
During the 2011 elections, mayoral candidate Piotr Gajewski was accused of violating campaign finance rules but was cleared of the allegations the day before the election, Patch and The Gazette reported.
The council voted 4-0 to authorize city staff to introduce the policies as ordinances. Councilman John Hall was not present, council records show.
The mayor and council are expected to officially adopt the deadline change and the new policy for candidacy withdrawal at a future meeting, The Gazette reported.