Commission Meeting Agenda Item
Agenda Item Title
Discussion regarding holding elections only in even-numbered years with two- or four-year terms.
Agenda Item ID
Staff Recommended Motion
Staff requests direction regarding elections being held in even-numbered years and for terms of office to be two or four years.
At the Budget Workshop on July 28th, the matter of restricting elections to even-numbered years was suggested by Commissioner Hannan. He said this in the context of saving money because the Town must absorb all the costs associated with our elections in odd-numbered years while the County absorbs all the costs in even-numbered years. For the 2021 elections, our bill from Lake County SOE was about $23,000. The proposed cost for the 2023 elections is almost $32,000!
While saving money is always great, there are two other reasons for considering the change. The first one is that more people turn out for federal, state and county races. In 2021, only 588 out of approximately 6900 registered voters in precincts 11,49,85 turned out for the Ward 3 race – about a 9% turnout. Unfortunately, incumbents have run unopposed for years prior to 2021 so I do not have more voting data. The second reason for considering the change, is voter fatigue. It is as if we are always in an election cycle with a couple months off for good behavior!
This topic was revisited at the January 18, 2023 Commission meeting by Commissioner Freeman and it was agreed by consensus to bring the matter before the Commission at the February 6th Regular Commission meeting.
The supporting information following this summary includes several options to consider to effect change for even-year elections. The first option is for 2-year election cycles that may be favored by one or more Commissioners, but the terms could not be staggered. The second option is for 4-year staggered terms; for options one and two, a referendum would be placed on the ballot this year. The third option is also for 4-year staggered terms but the referendum would not be on the ballot until 2024. This option would be the best IF 2023 candidates run unopposed since the election will not cost the Town anything in 2024. Whichever option is chosen, charter changes will be required.