Charleston City Council is considering an ordinance that would match city elections to county and state contests beginning in 2018.
Tonight, a public hearing will be held on the bill, which is expected to save the city money and increase voter turnout. Currently, the city conducts its own primary and general elections on its own cycle, something that costs taxpayers up to - and sometimes more than - $100,000 per election.
"The primary purpose is to avoid the cost of having a special election," said at-large Republican Councilman Tom Lane, one of five sponsors of the bill.
Lane said voter turnout is expected to increase as well because voters are likely to already be voting in state and county contests.
"The thinking was that there was a dual benefit," he said.
Some city elections have had low turnouts in the past.
During the last city election in May 2011, only 4,961 of the city's 38,303 registered voters cast ballots, according to Daily Mail archives. That's a turnout of 13 percent.
In comparison, 16,251 Charleston residents voted in the November 2010 general election, for a turnout of about 47 percent, according to the Kanawha County Voters' Registration office. Some precincts in South Hills had turnouts as high as 60 percent.
As of last week, voter registration records showed there are 38,978 registered voters in Charleston.
For the change to take place in 2018, terms resulting from the city's next election in 2015 would be shortened.