The Middleburg Town Council voted unanimously Thursday evening to move its elections from even-numbered years to odd-numbered years, avoiding coinciding with future federal election cycles.
Middleburg joins Round Hill, the first town in Loudoun County to move its elections following the General Assembly’s passage of legislation mandating that city and town elections move from May to November, beginning with elections held after Jan. 1, 2022.
No one spoke at Thursday’s public hearing. 58% of all registered voters in the Town of Middleburg voted in favor of moving the election to odd-numbered years based on returned mailers, according to a town staff report.
The remaining voters had no preference or favored even-numbered years.
“I really appreciate you guys doing this,” Middleburg Mayor Bridge Littleton said to town staff. “I think we did exactly the right thing.”
He urged town council members considering running for re-election to submit their paperwork immediately.
Five members of the council would be up for re-election including councilmembers Darlene Kirk, Bud Jacobs, Peter Leonard-Morgan, Cindy C. Pearson and Littleton.
The Towns of Hamilton, Lovettsville and Purcellville, all of whom opposed the General Assembly’s action, face these changes to when their local elections are held starting in 2022. VML Member cities and towns opposed the legislation because it “better suits the needs of their communities to separate local elections from those for state and federal offices,” according to VML.
Shortly after Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) signed the legislation into law, the Round Hill Town Council passed an amendment last month to its town ordinance to establish mayor and town council elections on the November General Election date in odd-numbered years.
Under Virginia code 24.2-222.1, local governments have the authority to adopt an ordinance moving their elections from even-numbered years to odd-numbered years, “notwithstanding their charter provisions.”
The municipal league said more than half of Virginia localities have chosen to hold their elections in May. Before the new law the Towns of Leesburg and Hillsboro were the only towns in Loudoun to hold their local elections in November.
Additionally, VML said the move would force localities to combine local, state and federal elections and would inevitably insert partisanship into the discussion of nonpartisan local issues.
Moving town elections to November also draws attention away from local issues in favor of state and federal campaign positions, VML argued, makes it harder for voters to stay informed, and increases the barriers to both running for office and winning a campaign for new candidates.
As reported earlier, the change to odd-numbered years will require Round Hill Mayor Scott Ramsey and councilmembers Donald Allen, Paula James and Jesse Howe to run for re-election in November. Their terms would have ended in 2022.
The deadline to submit a certificate of candidate qualification and declaration of candidacy are due June 8 at 7 p.m. Not all signature pages are required at once, according to the Virginia Department of Elections.
Mayor Dave Simpson said the Town of Hamilton will follow whatever the state sets, which is even years.
The Times-Mirror reached out representatives from Lovettsville and Purcellville on the matter.
Purcellville Mayor Kwasi Fraser said in an email last month to the Times-Mirror that the council had not raised or considered changing its elections from even to odd-numbered year elections.
Nathaniel Fontaine, mayor of Lovettsville, did not respond.
Below is a list of the following town council and mayoral seats up election in 2022.
David R. Simpson — Mayor
Craig Green — Councilmember
Rebecca Jones — Councilmember
Cathy Salter — Councilmember
Nathaniel O. Fontaine — Mayor
Christopher Hornbaker — Councilmember
Renee Edmonston — Councilmember
David Steadman — Vice Mayor
Kwasi Fraser — Mayor
Ted Greenly — Councilmember (recently announced he is stepping down)
Joel Grewe — Councilmember
Tip Stinnette — Councilmember