CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Voting may have just gotten easier for Kanawha County schools in the city of Charleston and its residents. At least that's the intent, as Charleston City Council members approved amendments to the city's election charter Monday evening.
Charleston's 2015 city elections -- both the primary and general -- have been moved to Saturdays. The general election is scheduled for Saturday, May 16 that year.
The idea behind the decision was to make voting less disruptive for Kanawha County public schools in the city that are used as polling places for municipal elections.
Officials elected on May 16, 2015, will take office the third Monday in June, according to the charter.
Council President Tom Lane said that in the 2015 elections, the mayor and council members' terms of office would be shortened by about six months because of the election date. Those shortened terms will begin in June 2015 and end in January 2019.
All following terms will run the usual four years, according to the charter.
The city is also planning to save up to $300,000 each election by having municipal races correspond with state and county off-year elections. This will begin in 2018, according to the charter.
Councilman Jack Harrison said the new charter, one that was discussed over the course of the year by a nine-member task force, "came out of that process as one that was a total agreement."
Harrison added that he hopes the changes to the election schedule will increase voter turnout.
"At our last general election, I think we had 12 percent turnout," Harrison said during Monday's council meeting. "That's poor."
Mayor Danny Jones called the changes a good deal.