City election, 2011

At a worksession late after last year’s election, the Council expressed a desire to change the polling hours from 11:00 a.m.-8:00p.m. to 7:00a.m.- 8:00p.m in order to get more residents participate in City elections.

The estimated cost to implement this change will be provided as part of the Board of Election Supervisors’ study on the election process which is now underway.

Jack Robson, Chief, Board of Election Supervisors, also suggested some possible amendments to the City’s election laws for Council consideration. Changes to the Charter and to the City Code will be needed. The proposed changes are as follows:

(a) Shorten the 14 day correction grace period for all reports or at least for the Pre-election Campaign Finance Record (CFR), which is due 8 days before the election date.

(b) Make the last date for voter registration 28 days (instead of current 29 days) – exactly four weeks prior to Election Day. This will ensure that the deadline is not a County holiday. In 2011, this date fell on Columbus Day, which is a County holiday but not a City holiday.

(c) Make all filing deadline times consistent. Right now, some deadlines are 12 noon; some are 5:00p.m. The inconsistency can be confusing for candidates. The 5:00p.m. deadline for petitions and other paperwork that involves processing time is problematic for staff. BOES recommends to make uniform all submission deadlines at 4:00p.m.

In tomorrow’s worksession, Council will discuss these proposed changes. Please let me know what you think. Thanks.