Florida’s municipalities intend to fight a proposal now before state lawmakers that would take away their ability to set local election dates and could extend the terms of some current elected officials. State lawmakers on Thursday will look at a proposal that seeks to improve local voter turnout by requiring every city, town and village to line up their elections the same day each year. The proposal (PCB SAC 16-04), scheduled to go before the House State Affairs Committee, would require the local elections to either mesh with statewide November general elections in even years, or be held every other year on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November in odd years.
Of Florida’s 411 cities, towns and villages, only 151 — including Miami, Pensacola and St. Petersburg — currently hold elections in November.
Under the proposed bill, a county supervisor of elections could also set a single annual date for all the municipal elections, something that could keep elections in the spring but may be more easily accomplished in smaller, rural northern counties with fewer municipalities.
A state analysis of the proposal notes the measure won’t impact state finances, but could cost local governments who would have to bring their charters and ordinances in line with the proposal.