For some time now, Atlantic City has seen a revival. From the land-based gaming and online operations to the rise of sports betting, the entire gambling town is recovering nicely from a huge downturn that took place a few years ago. The financials of the city were taken over by the state not long ago and now, a vote is set to take place in March that would change the government structure in the region. However, the democratic party of Atlantic City is now trying to thwart that effort.
Blocking the Special Election
The democratic party in the gambling town is looking to block a special election that will take place in March to eliminate an elected mayor and instead, but an appointed city manager in charge. The change would also see a smaller city council. The democrats of the city are stating that canvassers for the vote effort have forged signatures and took part in other forms of fraud to get their way.
Earlier this week, the democratic party filed a legal challenge seeking the approval of a judge for the vote to be blocked. The vote is supposed to take place on March 31st. The party is also claiming that the government official change would disenfranchise minority voters.
Those in favor of the measure want to see a governmental change as a way to get past decades of corruption as well as mismanagement of the gambling city. The current mayor, Marty Small, is in the position due to the former mayor being found guilty of taking tens of thousands of dollars from a community basketball league, just one example of the local corruption issues.
There has also been issues with spending and the casino industry has suffered because of it. Those in favor would like to see the government change so that the casinos can continue to thrive with the right leadership in place.
The Atlantic City Democratic Committee would like to see a judge cancel the election, and in their legal filing, are claiming that the group in charge of the effort took part in fraudulent behavior. The Atlantic City Residents for Good Government are being accused of omitting information and committing errors as they tried to validate petitions to allow the election.
The attorney for the committee, Samuel Lashman, stated that the proponents used illegal means as well as improper and fraudulent behavior to gather the signatures. According to the attorney, some of the signatures were made by minors and individuals who are not registered voters.
According to democratic mayor Marty Small, the proponents misled voters to be able to gather enough signatures to move forward with their plan. The mayor does not feel that 3,000 residents of the city would have signed the petition if they knew exactly what the ballot entails.
Atlantic City Casino Workers Union in Favor
The economy of Atlantic City revolves around the gambling industry and the local casino workers union is in favor of the government leader change. President of the union, Bob McDevitt, stated that the allegations in the court ruling are not true and that the effort against the vote is absurd.
McDevitt stated further that the democrats can file a legal challenge all they want to but the vote will happen and a reckoning will take place at the ballot box and not within a courtroom.
We shall see if the vote moves forward over the coming weeks or if a judge will rule in the democrats favor. If the signatures are legit, then residents should be voting on the matter by the end of next month.