Piedmont Neighborhood News

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On The Other Hand, I’m Not In Favor Of Measure C

Posted by drewbendon on February 15, 2008

I do favor changing the date of Piedmont elections – but we should have them in November, so I’m voting no on Measure C.

Piedmont voted a while go to change its independent election date to the current March date. The reason was to coincide with the date then used for primaries. Then, of course, they changed the primary date again to be in February, on Super Tuesday. Measure C proposes to follow the primaries to February, but who knows when they’ll change that again. What we do know is that when there is a Presidential contest, voter turnout in November can be nearly double that of the preceding primary, now in February. I don’t know what the final tally was, but they were predicting a record for voter turnout for this February’s primary. But even if 9 million voters cast votes (a new record by a long shot), that figure will only be 3/4 of a typical November election in a Presidential contest year.

One of the reasons I’ve heard advanced as to why Measure C proposes to move the election date to February, rather than June or November is that if we have a parcel tax measure on the February/March ballot and it fails, we have enough time to revise the measure in time for the November ballot (on which it presumably then passes) and the City has no concern that it won’t be able to operate. Other arguments offer that there are so many items on the November ballot that Piedmont issues will not be the priority of voters or that an excess of state bond measures or voter initiatives will dissuade voters from voting in favor of Piedmont bond measures or tax proposals. I can appreciate the pragmatism of these arguments, but I don’t find that they sufficiently justify fixing Piedmont’s elections to the primaries. And, frankly, I find them a bit insulting.

The goal of every election should be the highest possible voter participation. But we in California vote so often that Californians have “voter fatigue.” If we want to maximize the number of voters who vote on Piedmont issues, we should have our elections when voter turnout is highest, the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

I know some of you out there – Barry – are in the election biz and I’d like to hear what you have to say.

Drew

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One Response to “On The Other Hand, I’m Not In Favor Of Measure C”

  1. bbarnesjr said

    Drew- I couldn’t agree with you more. An election this March doesn’t make any sense (I think Piedmont is the only jurisdiction in the state with municipal elections this March). The problem is that changing it to February could put us right back in the same position if the state presidential primary moves again…not to mention in 2010 the statewide primary will be in June again so once again we’ll have a solo, low-turnout election. The last phrase of the city council resolution reads: “WHEREAS, the Piedmont City Council wishes to establish an election date which will reduce costs and increase voter turnout at municipal elections”..,if this is the desire then there’s one answer to the problem that would result in the lowest election costs and highest participation- November. No on C.

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