Following the lead of the Pasadena City Council, the Pasadena Unified School District Board of Education is expected to decide how it will change its election structure at a meeting in February.
“We have already agreed that we will change how we hold our elections,” said Board member Scott Phelps. “We hope to reach a conclusion at a joint meeting with the City Council in February.”
The school board, along with the council and the Altadena Library District, must change their election calendars to comply with the California Voting Rights Participation Act (CVRPA.) The CVRPA mandates that cities with low voter turnout must change their election calendars to match the state’s election cycle.
The CVPRA will force the city to change from March and April primaries and general elections in odd years to June and November elections in even years.
The elections will no longer be run by the city and will now be supervised by county officials.
The City Council voted in December to comply with the law, but so far has not decided on a new election format.
Options include holding primary and general elections that occur on statewide election dates and require candidates to receive more than 50 percent of the vote in the primary or general election.
The second option would also move elections to coincide with statewide elections, but would eliminate runoff elections and allow candidates to win with a plurality of the votes no matter the percentage.
Phelps said he was leaning toward plurality elections.
The final option would force only mayoral candidates to win more than 50 percent of the vote in the primary or general election.
Under all three options, the mayor and council members could receive extensions on their terms up to 20 months while the city transitions to the new system.
On Monday, Council member Margaret McAustin said voters should decide which election format they want.
The changes would mandate a change to the City Charter, which controls the city’s election calendar. The language to the charter change would be finalized in February along with a call for a special election in June.