This fall a ballot will arrive in your mailbox. On it is a series of questions regarding the city charter. We’ll delve deeper into the questions as we get closer to the election, but in the meantime there are two questions that will have a significant influence on local politics for the foreseeable future.
Questions 3 and 4 concern the timing of local elections. Question 3 asks if you think local elections should take place in the fall of even numbered years. Question 4 asks if you prefer local elections to take place in spring of odd numbered years.
As we know, Flagstaff used to hold its municipal elections in the spring of odd number years. In 2014 we changed it up and held our mayoral and city council elections in the fall at the same time as the federal and state elections. The fact of the matter is more people vote in November elections. In 2014, 54.3% of eligible voters weighed in on the mayoral race. In May of 2012, only 38.9% of eligible voters cast a ballot in the same race. The question is simple, do you want a city government that’s voted on by the majority of voters or a minority?
The other issue is cost. According to the Arizona Daily Sun,
It costs the city around $2 per voter to hold an election in the fall of evened numbered years. The cost for a spring election in even-numbered years or a spring/fall election in odd-numbered years is $5 per voter for a polling place election and $2.50 per registered voter for mail-in ballots.
Why on earth would we pay more money to have fewer people participate? It makes absolutely no sense.
Flagstaff is an active community, it is a community where people volunteer, where they get involved, and care deeply about local issues. We’re urging you to vote yes on 3 and no on 4. Be sure to encourage your friends, family, and co-workers to do the same!