L.A. changes election dates

by John Seiler | March 6, 2015 11:04 am

Los Angeles city hall wikimediaOccasionally an election itself epitomizes a political situation. That was the case Tuesday with the Los Angeles primary.

The main items on the ballot were  Charter Amendment 1[1] and Amendment 2[2], which respectively changed the city and LAUSD elections to even years, beginning in 2020.

The argument for the amendments were that separate elections like this have low voter turnout. So the elections should be changed to years with bigger items on the ticket, such as the presidential election.

The election itself proved the point as just 9 percent of voters turned out, according [3]to the Los Angeles City Clerk. That was just 1/7th the 69 percent turnout [4]for the 2012 presidential election.

Both amendments passed with 77 percent of the vote.

The old system was a result of a previous reform[5] from the Progressive Era in California 100 years ago. Other reforms of that day included the state initiative and referendum system and, nationally, the direct election of U.S. senators and women’s suffrage.

In this case, the argument was that separate elections would focus voters’ eyes more on local issues, instead of confusing them in the midst of consolidated elections. That turned out not to be the case. In particular, voters mainly perk up during presidential election years, especially in these modern times of massive TV, newspaper and Internet coverage.

One argument in favor of the change was that the current system discriminated against minority voters. But nothing prevented them from voting. And the Progressives themselves generally favored more open voting for minorities.

In any case, the new, consolidated system will be in force, come 2020.

  1. Charter Amendment 1: http://www.smartvoter.org/2015/03/03/ca/la/meas/1/
  2. Amendment 2: http://www.smartvoter.org/2015/03/03/ca/la/meas/2/
  3. according : http://clerk.lacity.org/stellent/groups/departments/@clerk_elections_contributor/documents/contributor_web_content/lacityp_030527.pdf
  4. turnout : http://www.scpr.org/news/2014/09/19/46832/public-hearings-set-for-los-angeles-city-elections/
  5. previous reform: http://greenlining.org/issues/2015/save-date-will-los-angeles-change-city-elections/

Source URL: https://calwatchdog.com/2015/03/06/l-a-changes-election-dates/