Should off-year elections be consolidated with general elections?
There are off year elections and then there are off year elections.
This year in many places the only candidates running for office to be elected in November are those from citys, towns and other municipalities.
It is an off year election. But next year there will be another one that gets a lot more play. It is called the mid-term elections.
At the mid-term elections people vote for Congressmen and often other state and municipal officials.
Both these kinds of elections have a much lower voter turnout than the general election when the countrys presidential seat is up for grabs.
The fact is it seems we just went through that, although it was now a year ago.
Are off year elections beneficial or should some kind of consolidation take place?
Those that favor consolidation say that it would save a great deal of money and the turnout would be much higher.
Those opposed say that candidates in grass roots offices, like those appearing on the ballot this November, would be lost in the glare of all the hype and advertising for federal candiddates.
A report by the Greenlining Institute found recently that off-year municipal elections in many West Coast cities result in higher per-voter costs and could lead to a less-representative electorate.
The report uses information from a questionaire that was given to California's 58 counties. Case studies were done to compare data from the counties.
On average those studeis showed that citys and counties with consolidated elections had higher voter turnout and also lower costs per voter than those that followed the normal routine.
Greenline has encouraged all cities and countys to study their situations to determine what would be best for them. It concluded that consolidation is a good move.
Part of the analysis also showed that minority voters were not as prevelant percentage wise in non-consolidated elections either. In some places this could lead to federal voting rights violations.
Opinions are divided. Do cost savings and more voters at the polls justify having much more crowed ballots in which local elections might lose their importance?
It is a question that needs answering.