Millsboro hopes to increase voters in next election

By Glenn Rolfe
Posted 5/7/22

MILLSBORO — Candidate filing deadline for two Millsboro town council seats is May 18.

Council terms held by Tim Hodges (District 1) and John Thoroughgood (District 2) expire this …

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Millsboro hopes to increase voters in next election

Posted

MILLSBORO — Candidate filing deadline for two Millsboro town council seats is May 18.

Council terms held by Tim Hodges (District 1) and John Thoroughgood (District 2) expire this year.

Kimberley Kaan, unsuccessful last year in her attempt to join council, has filed as a District 1 candidate in the June 11 municipal election.

Contacted Friday, Mr. Thoroughgood, council’s pro tempore and acting vice president, said he has filed for re-election.

Mr. Hodges is serving as acting mayor/president, succeeding Michelle Truitt, who stepped away from town government in late November 2021.

In-person voting is from 1 to 7 p.m. at the town center for eligible voters 18 and older. In Millsboro elections, there is no absentee voting, said Jamie Burke, who recently was named town manager after nearly four years as assistant town manager.

In the 2021 election, 39 votes in a town whose population was 4,533 based on 2020 U.S. Census data but has since grown. Incumbent Bradley Cordrey outpolled Ms. Kaan 23-16 to secure a third three-year council term as one of two District 1 representatives.

This election, Ms. Kaan is campaigning for increased voter turnout. She has informational campaign pamphlets and a website, alerting residents of her candidacy and the upcoming election. “I believe in transparent government,” she said.

Ms. Kaan, who with her husband moved to Millsboro in March 2019 from a small Ohio town, believes that while the town does the required minimum per its charter regarding municipal elections, it should do more.

She suggests the town could use its digital marquee, which it does for community events and did for the $38 million borrowing referendum approved last November by voters, 143-77.

“They do the statutory advertisement in the paper, petitioning for candidates, but that is it. You really shouldn’t have to rely on a newspaper,” said Ms. Kaan.

“I really feel like, whether I am in the election or not, all elections should be advertised. I just feel like you have to give more information. Err on the side of telling me more than less.”

At its July 2021 meeting, council did address the poor turnout. While council and town administration concurred voting hours — 1 to 7 p.m. — specifically spelled out in the town charter should not change, there was a request from the audience that the town should consider doing more in advance to make residents aware, beyond what it follows in town charter/state statute.

Mr. Burke said he plans to review council meeting minutes to see if council made any decision pertaining to advertising/promoting municipal elections.

Mr. Thoroughgood said his recollection is that the town intended to “just keep going by what the state requires you to do. I think they were going to put it on the billboard, the marquee.”

Last year, incumbent James Kells (District 3) was unopposed in his 2021 re-election bid. He also secured a third three-year term on the town’s seven-member governing body.

Next year, council seats held by Larry Gum (at large), Ron O’Neal (District 2) and Faye Lingo (District 3) expire. Ms. Lingo, a former town manager, was appointed to fill out the Ms. Truitt’s term.

All council terms in Millsboro are three years.

Eligible voters must be 18 or older, town residents and registered with the Sussex County Department of Elections.

The list for the entire 19966 ZIP Code comes from the Department of Elections. It includes areas not in Millsboro’s corporate limits, such as Long Neck and Oak Orchard.

“We get the list. Then we have to verify who is in municipal limits,” said Mr. Burke. “We go through and isolate who is within the municipal limits.”