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Rehoboth Beach considers extending voting eligibility to LLCs

Delaware Public Media

Rehoboth Beach city commissioners will hear from the public Saturday at a town hall about possibly extending voting eligibility to limited liability companies.

It would give each artificial entity up to two votes.

Property owners in an LLC can currently vote in Rehoboth Beach special elections. But City Commissioner Kathy McGuiness introduced the proposal extending it all elections.

It would allow a person to vote on behalf of an LLC if they own at least 50 percent of a property in that LLC. The commissioners are also debating shortening leaseholder residency requirements from 6 months to 30 days.

If Rehoboth Beach passes a charter change, state lawmakers would have to approve it. House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf, who represents the city, said he would sponsor a measure in the legislature if the city council extends voting eligibility to LLCs.

“So, it’s not like one of them is running to me and say ‘We want you to change the charter,’" he said. "I make it known for the whole time I’ve been here that if you want me to change your charter, I want certain things. That you’re going to need to take a vote on it and I know that the will of the council is to change the charter.”

McGuiness said they are preserving the principle of one person one vote. But fellow Commissioner Patrick Gossett said he’s unsure what problem extending voting rights to LLCs will solve. He also said no one has come to him complaining about LLCs not being able to vote.

“You know  there are sacrifices that you make when you make a decision of being an LLC," he said. "There are certain things that you gain and certain things you must sacrifice.”

The town hall at the Rehoboth Fire Hall starts at 2 p.m.

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