Our View: Fall elections seem to make most senseMost of us have probably forgotten last month’s primary election. Easy to do since most of us didn’t bother to vote.
Most of us have probably forgotten last month’s primary election. Easy to do since most of us didn’t bother to vote.
In the town of Hudson, 85 voted; Troy, 59; St. Joseph 51; village of North Hudson, 57; and the city of Hudson, 185 — a grand total of 437 in five municipalities with a population of more than 31,000 people!
By contrast, just two-plus months earlier for the Nov. 4 general election, the total presidential vote by municipality included 4,760 in the town of Hudson; Troy, 2,765; St. Joseph 2,336; village of North Hudson, 2,202; and the city of Hudson, 7,037. The total was 19,100 – quite a difference!
Obviously it’s a bit unfair to compare a primary to a general election. The point is that fall elections, involving county, state and national races between Republicans, Democrats and those from other political parties, attract much more attention.
There’s more interest in these contests because they affect more people and generate more news and advertising coverage. All this brings out more voters.
A resolution has been proposed in the state Assembly to eliminate spring elections and shift them to the fall. We think it’s an idea to consider and hope our local state lawmakers Kitty Rhoades and Sheila Harsdorf take a close look at this proposal.
Another reason to shift the spring elections to fall is timing. Spring election candidates must file for office in December or by the end of the first week in January. This is prime holiday season. Most people’s attention is not focused on local politics. Under these conditions it’s often hard to attract enough candidates.
Some could argue that local, county board members and municipal candidates could get lost in a presidential election, but on the other side of the coin, more people might take an interest in electing local and county board officials.
There’s also the cost factor. The city of Hudson, for instance, has budgeted $16,300 to hold the 2009 spring elections (primary and general election). The Feb. 17 primary share of that budget came to about $2,200. Since the city had 185 voters, the cost per vote was about $11.89. All municipalities had some expense while essentially duplicating the process that had just been completed on Nov. 4. Other entities, such as school districts, chip in to cover part of the cost. Moving spring elections to fall would spread out and defray that overall cost.
The main issue boils down to this: A combination of higher voter turnouts and cost savings make the shift of nonpartisan spring elections to fall a tempting one. What do you think of this proposal? Let your elected officials know.
By the way, don’t forget, there’s an election on April 7.