Election Day in May?Published 9:56am Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Low voter turnout for local elections is not a problem unique to Franklin, but one that plagues many cities and towns in Virginia and elsewhere.
In addition to the low turnout here in last week’s elections documented in the Sunday, May 11 edition of The Tidewater News (“Apathy, “Tony Clark), a May 9 article in The Daily Press (“May elections bring low turnout,” Austin Bogues and David Ress) described similarly low turnout at the polls in Newport News.
The article also went on to suggest that the issue may be as simple as when local elections take place.
There is no question that the idea of casting your vote for a city councilman doesn’t carry the same cachet as casting one for the Governor of Virginia or the President of The United States. Yet it is no less important to do so.
Many cities have converted their local elections from May to November when they coincide with other ballot items. As pointed out in The Daily Press story, doing so could provide two significant benefits; higher turnout for local elections when voters are enticed by higher profile campaigns, and the reduction in local costs achieved by fewer voting events.
The idea of moving local elections from May to November may not solve the overall issue of voter apathy, but it sounds like an idea at least worth looking into.