At-Large City Councilor Jesse Lederman has introduced an ordinance aimed at increasing voter turnout in municipal elections.
The legislation will require all registered voters receive a written postcard notification at their household of municipal elections at least 30 days prior to the date of the election. The notification will be required to list the date of the election, the offices and/or questions to be voted on, contact information for the Elections office, and the polling location of the voter.
Under the proposed ordinance, the city would also be required to utilize the municipal “all call system” to notify those enrolled in the all call service 14 days prior to a municipal election. It also requires signage to be posted at major intersections on Election Day communicating that it is Election Day.
“Our democracy and local government benefit from having as many people at the table as possible,” said Lederman, “The steady decline in voter turnout across our country is concerning - and locally, we should be working to engage people. It is important that we start this conversation.”
Turnout in the 2017 municipal election was 9.9% and was 10.24% in 2015.
Under Councilor Lederman’s proposal, all the language of the notification would be required to remain neutral and non-partisan, and be approved by the bipartisan Election Commission.
Lederman says the current legislation is a draft. He will refer it to the General Government Committee this evening, and said he looks forward to hearing additional suggestions from colleagues, the Election Commissioner, and the public as the ordinance works its way through the Council’s Committee process.