Local clerks and Grand Rapids schools oppose legislation that would mandate school districts conduct board elections in November of even-numbered years.
“I want to increase voter turnout, save money and improve the efficiency of local governments and school districts,” said Rep. Kurt Heise, R-Plymouth, who introduced the legislation that also affects community college trustee elections.
Kent and Ottawa school districts have traditionally held spring elections. The legislation would not apply for millages, charter amendments or special elections.
Grand Rapids City Clerk Lauri Parks and Kent County Clerk Mary Hollinrake want to see the Heise’s measure amended to give local clerks the option of holding elections in November of odd-numbered years.
Parks and Hollinrake say eliminating the May election would create some efficiencies. But even-year November elections programming and testing become more complex.
“The odd-year November option keeps local elections local,” Parks said. “Our school board and community college trustees could get lost in the partisanship of those even-year elections.
“There is a possibility this would cause the ballot length to get so long, we would have to go to two ballots, and that would be quite complex.”