February 14, 2018
Municipal Elections Passes House of Representatives
OPPOSE HB 7037 & CS/SB 1262
HB 7037 preempts to the state the authority to establish the dates of municipal elections.
- The bill requires the governing body of a municipality to select a specified date in either March (Third Tuesday) or November (First Tuesday after the First Monday) for holding its election, and requires a process for cities that have runoff elections.
- The bill obviously impacts nearly 150 municipalities currently holding elections on dates other than those mandated by this bill, but the bill will affect numerous others, too.
DOES YOUR CITY PROVIDE FOR RUNOFF ELECTIONS?
If so, this bill affects you – even if you currently hold your general election in March or November. Why’s that? The bill requires all general elections to be held 10 weeks prior to a runoff election. Cities that currently hold general elections in November would need to move their general elections to August, and then hold any runoff elections in November.
- The optimal time and date for a municipal election will vary according to each community needs and preferences.
- It is false to assume that high voter turnout in November elections translates into increased voter participation on municipal ballot issues in that same election.
- Consolidating municipal elections into two “seasons” will make it difficult for municipal candidates to compete for voter attention in saturated media markets and other venues.
- For over 40% of cities that provide for runoff elections, this bill will force their general elections to occur in January and August. This means that municipal campaigns will be in full swing over a period of time when voters are highly distracted or absent.
- Local citizens should have the right to decide for themselves when they want to have municipal elections. This is a purely local decision that should stay local.
Should you have any questions, please contact Rebecca O’Hara at