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Spring Elections Could Soon Be In The Fall

Ho John Lee
flickr Creative Commons

A proposal in the Legislature would move the spring local government elections to the fall, so they would coincide with state and national elections. The goal is increasing turnout in local elections, which is sometimes quite low. Secretary of State Kris Kobach discussed the plan with lawmakers Wednesday.

Kobach supports moving the spring elections if lawmakers take additional actions. The problem is that the district maps for the spring elections for local offices do not line up with the state office districts from the fall elections.

Putting them all together would make the voting process more complex, and poll workers would need to sort through more types of ballots to get the correct ballot for each voter.

“A polling place that today has 10 different ballot styles, now that same polling place, if we don’t do anything else, will have 40 or 50 ballot styles," says Kobach, "which dramatically increases the probability of a poll worker making a mistake.”

He says if they move the spring elections, lawmakers should consider steps like eliminating districts for local school boards. Instead, board members would all run for at-large seats that cover the entire school district. But some lawmakers are opposed to that idea, saying it could mean not all parts of a school district would get representation.