Councilman Sherman Lea Sr.
The advantages of moving elections to the November cycle would be as follows:
1) Greater voter turnout at council elections (40,000+ versus 9,000+) using the 2008/2012 election as example in 2008. 40,000 people voted in the presidential race and 9,000 voted on May 1 out of a possible 62,000.
2) Assure the spirit of the federal voting rights is upheld. When 3% of the precincts with the highest incomes can elect local elected officials by themselves voting rights get threatened. By acting ahead of a potential mandate by the justice Department Roanoke City can design a system that works best.
Justice Department action in Lynchburg and Norfolk resulted in a Ward system being imposed. Ward Systems often divide communities further. By moving, the elections to when the federal elections are held will greatly increase voter participation thus keeping a solution like Ward System away that would further divide the City.
3) Higher voter turnout also reduces the great influence advertising money directed at May elections currently has on local elections. The current situation puts lower income people at a great disadvantange in running for local elections.
We need to do whatever increases voter turnout across the City and if we as local elected officials get “lost among other candidates” running for federal offices then so be it. There is no proof it does – nor are issues lost .
Are our egos such that we would worry about attention to us versus other federal candidates that we would not do nwhat is best to increase voter turnout?
Money would be saved by moving our elections to November. Thus, any Council member who cares about “looking out for the taxpayer” would have to support moving our elections to November. and finally “IT IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO.”
Moving municipal elections from May to November is a snap – Council Members Ferris, Trinkle, Bestpitch and Rosen speak out.
Posted By Valerie Garner
Categories: Commentary, Elections, Politics, Roanoke City Politics
Tags: city_council, Elections