Election day is a week from Tuesday. It’s an odd-numbered year, so that means city and school board races only. Odd numbered years usually get low turnout, but still cost taxpayers a lot of money. Mecklenburg County election officials said turnout for odd-numbered years can be as low as 20 percent. But they say it still costs as much as $450,000 to pull off city and school board elections. That’s more than $3.50 per vote.
WSOC asked Catawba College professor Michael Bitzer why the state doesn’t hold the city and school board races on even years, with the Presidential, Congressional, Gubernatorial, General Assembly, and county election as a way to possibly boost turnout and save tax dollars. Bitzer said maybe the state will one day. He also said some people may worry that city and school board elections will get overshadowed if they have to compete with the bigger races.
“Unlike in a Presidential year where you’ve got a bombard of campaign advertisement — big time issues. That really kind of sucks the air out of local issues,” said Bitzer.
The N.C. League of Municipalities said almost the same thing — that city races might get “lost in the shuffle” in even-numbered years. It was also the first thing that came to mind when WSOC asked the Republican running for Charlotte mayor, Scott Stone.