State Capitol News
Tue May 1, 2012
State Lawmakers Want to Limit Number of Local Election Days
The days of local communities deciding when it makes sense to have elections could soon be coming to an end.
Under current law, cities can have votes on four specific dates every year. The legislation approved Monday by the state House would limit that to just two -- and only on even-numbered years, the same days as statewide elections. Clint Bolick of the Goldwater Institute said consolidation makes sense.
"For the typical voter who's worried about getting their kids to school and getting to work on time, having elections occur on a totally irregular, sometimes random, and I believe intentionally random basis is simply not a type of system that will encourage even informed, caring voters to turn out," Bolick said.
Bolick said it is often intentional because special interests that want something approved at the ballot will try to have elections scheduled at unusual times in hopes of attracting only supporters. But Prescott Republican Karen Fann pointed out that communities already have the right to decide what works best for them and chided colleagues for interfering.
"If the federal government all of a sudden passed a rule that dictated to every single state how our election should be done, when, where, what time, how many years apart, would we sit back and say, OK, we're OK with that because they say we might save some money," said Fann.