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Voters overwhelmingly reject proposed ward system in Manlius

Voters line up outside the Manlius town hall to cast their ballot
Jessica Cain
Voters line up outside the Manlius town hall to cast their ballot's in a special election to determine if the town should be divided into six districts, Sept. 23.

Results from the weekend’s special election in Manlius mean a ward system will not be adopted in the town.

Manlius Town Board Members will remain “at-large” after voters overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to split the town into six separate districts. The final vote was 890 in favor of the ward system, with 2105 opposed.

While the change is listed as a topic for discussion in the town’s comprehensive plan, Town Supervisor John Deer was opposed to the special election; he said he is happy with the results.

“I am real proud,” Deer said. “I am real proud to be the town supervisor today.”

Timothy Kelly, chairman of the Manlius Republican Party, believes a ward system would benefit the town. Kelly said he respects the results of the election but thinks conversations need to continue to properly serve the community.

“It’s still something that when there are people in our town who feel like their voice isn't being heard, I think we all need to look at that, across the aisle,” Kelly said.

Deer also said the conversation is not over. Although long lines flooded out of the polling station on Saturday, he estimates only 15% of voters participated. A percentage he said is not enough to answer the question.

“We asked this question and if 15% of people are showing up to answer, that is just not sufficient,” Deer said. “We have not answered this question. All we have done is agreed that we need to wait and have a bigger conversation and keep moving forward.”

Kelly said with a bit more time voters could see a different outcome.

“I think with a more informed electorate, with a little bit more time, I feel that this is still a smart idea for the town of Manlius,” Kelly said.

Abigail is a temporary WRVO News Reporter/Producer working on regional and digital news stories. She graduated from SUNY Oswego in 2022 where she studied English and Public Relations. Abigail enjoys reading, writing, exploring CNY and spending time with family and friends. Abigail first joined the WRVO team as a student reporter in June 2022.