The Pasadena Board of Education and the Pasadena City Council will hold a joint meeting at 6:30 p.m. tonight, Feb. 15, at Pasadena City Hall to vote on putting a proposed City Charter change on the June 5 ballot.
According to a new state law, cities with low voter turnout must move election dates to coincide with state election dates if local election participation rates result in contests with low voter turnout.
City Council and Board of Education races over the past several years have been plagued by voter apathy, forcing city officials to comply with the law.
Under the California Voters Participation Rights Act, the city will change its election calendar from March primaries and April general elections, which are currently conducted in odd years, to June primaries and November general elections in even years, or when the state holds its elections.
The city’s election calendar is regulated by the charter which can only be changed at the voting booth by Pasadena residents.
Because the Pasadena Unified School District includes Altadena and Sierra Madre, those residents will have a chance to vote on the proposed charter change regarding Board of Education elections.
Under the new system, elections will no longer be run by the city, and instead be supervised by county officials.
Voters will be asked a simple yes or no question:
“Consistent with state law, shall the Pasadena City Charter be amended to: 1) change the city’s primary and general election dates to coincide with statewide primary and general election dates, beginning with the November 2018 general election; 2) extend the current terms for the mayor and councilmembers by 19 months on a one-time basis in order to transition to the statewide election cycle; and 3) change the timing of the mayor’s thematic budget message?”
The City Council would maintain part of its current system which requires the winner to receive more than 50 percent of the vote. The school district will move to plurality elections. Under that system, the candidate with the most votes wins.
The current system could extend elections by months and make it even more expensive to run for office, thus making it more difficult for newcomers to be elected.