Garcia, Schipske & Neal Propose City Align With County Election Schedules
2012-05-07 · By Editor
Councilmembers Robert Garcia, Gerrie Schipske, and Steven Neal have proposed aligning the City’s election cycle with the County and State. Currently, Long Beach holds elections every two years at April and June, while the State holds elections every two years at June and November. The motion recommends the City Council convene as the Charter Amendment Committee to consider a ballot measure that would amend the City’s charter as necessary to change the election cycle.
“With the City looking for new ways to save money, and always wanting to expand citizen participation in elections, the time is right to look at this policy again,” said Garcia. “I’m looking forward to a full discussion of all the pros and cons, and to hearing from the public on this issue.”
In November of 2010, the Elections Oversight Committee of the City of Long Beach considered aligning the election cycles, but ultimately took no action. At that meeting, the City Clerk reported that some California cities align their election cycles with the State’s, and combine many elections operations with County and State operations. Citizen participation in elections can be hindered by having multiple elections instead of just one, according to information from that report.
“I brought this idea forward to the City Council several years ago because of a study completed by the Public Policy Institute of California (Municipal Elections in California:Turnout, Timing and Competition) which revealed that overall turnout in city elections could be increased substantially by rescheduling more of them to coincide with state and national contests. I am eager to move forward on this,” said Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske.
“I have always supported streamlining elections to encourage greater voter participation,” said Councilmember Neal. “In times like these, governments are forced to streamline operations to save money. This gives us the opportunity to do just that, while potentially saving voters the fatigue of participating in numerous elections.”
Next week’s discussion is also expected to include a full briefing from the Country Registrar- Recorder/County Clerk.