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Supervisors expected to consider local ballot changes

School boards, water district want to switch elections to even-numbered years

Posted: April 29, 2013 3:11 p.m.
Updated: April 29, 2013 3:11 p.m.

A bid by local school boards and a water district to pick up more voters by changing their elections from odd-number years to even-number years is expected to get a “yea” or “nay” from county supervisors on Tuesday.

All four elementary school districts, the William S. Hart Union High School District, College of the Canyons and the Newhall County Water District have petitioned to change the years of their elections.

The goal? To increase voter participation, which is traditionally lower during odd-year elections because no state or national issues are on the ballot.

For example, the name of the top vote-getter in Sulphur Springs School District’s November 2011 election was punched on fewer than 2,000 ballots with 27,814 people registered to vote.

County officials concede that even-year elections draw more voters. But they also note they are hampered with a balloting system that may not accommodate the local districts’ hopes.

“Because these systems have limited space for election contests and ballot propositions and because the statewide general election ballots are long and complex, allowing other jurisdictions to consolidate their regular elections in even-numbered years invites the very real possibility that there would be insufficient space on the ballot to accommodate all the election contests from numerous requesting jurisdictions,” Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/Clerk Dean C. Logan wrote in a memo to the Board of Supervisors.

Efrain Escobedo, manager of governmental affairs for the Los Angeles County Department of Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, said the voting system is based largely on 1960s technology.

“Right now, at this time, we have concerns with the capacity of the voting system,” Escobedo said. “And we have voiced those.”

Rob Challinor, superintendent of the William S. Hart Union High School District, previously told The Signal that districts are aware of the registrar-recorder’s concerns.

“I think the Registrar-Recorder’s letter to the supervisors (regarding ballot restrictions) will carry great weight,” he said earlier this month.

But Challinor said districts remain cautiously optimistic.

“Having said that, I do know that the Board of Supervisors is very respectful of local governing boards, and since all six governing boards overwhelmingly passed the resolution to consolidate the elections, there will be some consideration for that,” he said.
On Twitter @LukeMMoney



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