Fall Even Year Council Elections – To Be Discussed 7/28/2011

Remember how the Citizens Budget Committee of September 2009 recommended that Council elections be changed from Spring Odd years to Fall Even years? The estimated savings back then was $232k per election, and that amount would increase as the population grew. At build-out the savings was estimated at $500k per election.

Those off-cycle special elections are a burden to Gilbert taxpayers, who have to pay 100% of the cost. However, if Town elections coincided with state and federal elections, we would split the cost with Maricopa County.

In addition to other weak arguments, the previous Council (Linda Abbott, Dave Crozier, Les Presmyk,and John Sentz) stated repeatedly in meeting after meeting during 2010 that consolidation would mean that the local Town Council race would get swallowed up in state and federal elections. Nobody would pay attention to local issues, they argued.

Well, I don’t know why those Council members thought that Gilbert voters paid more attention to their “special, custom-made-just-for-them” elections, because they don’t.

Voter turnout in our last off cycle election was pitiful. Last Spring 2011, a whopping 14% of the registered voters in Gilbert bothered to vote, even with massive “get out the vote” efforts.

In fact, 30,000 of the 47,000 early ballots that were mailed (at taxpayer expense) were deposited in the garbage, not in the ballot box. Only 17,000 of the early ballots were cast. What a waste.

Politicians might not grow tired of hearing themselves pontificate, but I think that most normal people grow weary of the constant drone of campaigning, not to mention year round campaign signs on every street corner. If voters are apathetic, it’s their only way of remaining sane.

The previous Council “discussed” this issue for months, kicking the can down the road until August 19, 2010, when it was too late to take any decisive action.

You can expect the current Council to bring up this issue on July 28, 2011. The majority of these Council members favor Fall Even Years.

Please come to the July 28 meeting and speak out in favor of Fall Even years and give the Council your support.

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