Council To Consider Fall Even Year Elections 7/28/2011

Please attend Thursday’s Council meeting, which begins at 7 pm, and speak out in favor of Fall Even Year elections. The meeting is at Town Hall, 50 E Civic Center Dr. (right after the Operation Welcome Home ceremony).

The previous Council debated this issue endlessly last year, until it was too late to make a decision.

The Town has known for some time that the 2010 Census would indicate that Gilbert had grown in population beyond 175,000. According to State Law, reaching that number means that Gilbert’s local elections must be held in the Fall. The statute doesn’t specify whether elections should be held in odd or even years.

Going to even years means a significant savings to Gilbert taxpayers, because the local election would dovetail with county, state, and national races. Gilbert would share the cost, rather than shoulder the entire cost of its own “special” election in odd years.

The savings is significant: $206,000 annually. At build-out, when the Town reaches 300,000 in population, the savings would be $330,000 per year.

Also, voters are much more engaged in standard Fall Even years.

It is very difficult, if not impossible, to get voters off the dime in off-cycle elections. In last Spring's election of Town Council members, 47,000 early ballots were mailed. Only 17,000 of those ballots were cast. That means 30,000 early ballots were thrown in the garbage by disinterested Gilbert citizens.

About the only people who can be counted on to vote in off-cycle elections are government employees with a vested interest in higher taxes, which affords them higher wages and benefits.

Those opposed to even year elections believe that Gilbert is lost in the sauce of all the other races, and that voters will pay little attention to local Gilbert issues. I don't agree. With 2 years between each election, voters have the opportunity to pay attention to how all public officials are performing.

Further, I think that voters get burned out with annual campaigning, campaign signs, and campaign issues.

Please show your support for these new conservative Council members who support even year elections! If you are unable to attend, please send an email to the Mayor and Council members at councilmembers@gilbertaz.gov