City looks at voting for non-resident business owners

Xavier Smith • Oct 12, 2017 at 7:29 PM

Members of the Lebanon City Council briefly discussed voting rights for city property and business owners who do not live in the city.

Mayor Bernie Ash said he received some calls recently about allowing business and property owners to vote in city elections.

“We’ve got people running small businesses and own the building, pay property taxes, pay sales taxes and they felt they should have the right to vote since what we do affects them,” Ash said.

Ash said he previously thought the practice was impossible, but said City Attorney Andy Wright found state law that allows the practice.

“It is legal to do that by changing the charter. If more than two people own the business, then only two of them would be allowed to vote. This is just in the city elections,” Ash said.

Ash said he did not know how many more property and business owners would be allowed to vote, but said he believed it was a small percentage.

“I think it’s a good idea. It gives these people representation to for or against the taxes and regulations that the city might put on them,” Ash said.

The council is expected to discuss the issue Tuesday during its regular meeting at 6 p.m. at the Town Meeting Hall. 

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