The results of a special Johns Creek City Council election held April 18 may not be legitimate, according to a report by the nonprofit group VoterGA. The report focuses its critique on alleged security flaws in voting machines and says the election was improperly scheduled. Three separate elections were held that night: the Johns Creek City Council election, the Roswell City Council run-off and the Sixth District Congressional race. … But there were problems in the Johns Creek election, according to VoterGA.
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.
Two dissident candidates conceded defeat Sunday in Cuban local elections that offered them a chance to become the first officials elected from outside the Communist Party in 40 years. Hildebrando Chaviano and Yuniel Lopez had been chosen as candidates by a show of hands in Havana neighborhood nominating meetings and hoped to win two of the 12,589 seats at stake in 168 municipal councils. Both acknowledged they had no chance of winning after preliminary results showed Chaviano in last place of four candidates and one of Lopez’s pro-government opponent with twice his vote. Chaviano, 65, is a government attorney-turned-independent journalist and Lopez, 26, is an unemployed member of a dissident political party.
I am informed that the city secretary for the City of Bartlett in Williamson County has asserted once again for the fourth year running that there is “no state law” requiring the city to conduct early voting within its city limits during the entirety of the early voting period for the May election, and that despite the fact that in-person early voting is to be conducted from April 27, 2015 through May 5, 2015, there will only be one day of early voting within the City of Bartlett city limits; namely on Saturday, May 2nd. This is both annoying and wrong, and a disservice to the voters of that city, but it may also be a shortcut chosen by other political entities as well, given that various other entities inside Williamson County also have weirdly truncated and limited early voting. Last year, in response to complaints about the lack of early voting, the Temple Daily Telegraph ran a story asserting the city’s position that an election services contract with Williamson County justified the lack of early voting locations. The story is behind a paywall, but there’s not much point in reading it, given that the city’s premise is wrong and is flatly contradicted by state law, as I’ve explained before.
For many young people, turning 16 grants coveted rights to drive a car and start a first job. In San Francisco, it may mean helping to choose the mayor and other city leaders. San Francisco Supervisor John Avalos last week offered a proposal to lower the voting age to 16. He will seek to put the measure on the ballot this November or next year. “In a lot of ways, young people have been showing that they have the ability to shape the world they live in,” Avalos said in a telephone interview. “It makes a lot of sense that we honor that work with helping them to elect the people representing them.”
The campaign to combine Los Angeles’ elections with state and federal contests has been hailed by backers as a way to lift the city’s dismal turnout, which in the last mayoral race was 23%. But more than a dozen candidates for City Council now say that they oppose the idea, claiming it could make races more expensive and give a leg up to incumbents and others backed by special interests. Charter Amendments 1 and 2 were put on the March 3 ballot by the council to reverse a decline in voter participation during the odd-year city and school board elections. On the campaign trail, however, several candidates — some experiencing their first brush with the election process — have begun warning that the date change would have other, less positive, consequences.
If the Kansas Legislature’s proposed bill SB 171 gets passed it would mean local city and school candidates would be required to declare a political party, and there would be primary elections in August followed by the general election in November. Supporters argue fall elections would increase voter turnout and making the elections partisan would tell voters where candidates stand in regards to political platforms. A number of bill proponents testified in Topeka this week at the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee hearing. Clay Barker, executive director of the Kansas Republican Party, expressed his support of SB 171.
As it waits for a City Council vote on new rules for electronic billboards, outdoor advertising company Clear Channel Outdoor has become a major backer of the campaign to change L.A.’s election dates. The company recently gave $25,000 to the campaign for Charter Amendments 1 and 2, the March 3 ballot measures that would align L.A. city and school board races with higher-turnout state and presidential elections. Supporters say the change in election dates, which are backed by council President Herb Wesson and would go into effect in 2020, will diminish the power of special interests by getting more voters to the polls. But records show that, so far, many of those lining up behind the measures — public employee unions, business groups and a handful of private companies — have past or present stakes in City Hall decisions. Denver-based CP Development, which won city approval last year for a downtown high-rise, gave $25,000 to a committee promoting the measures. So did the L.A. County Federation of Labor, which fought a move to scale back city employee pension costs and, more recently, convinced the council to hike the minimum wage at large hotels.