A few readers have asked us offline about whatever happened to moving the Alexandria City Council & School Board elections from May to November, when supposedly the lure of state and national races would ensure better voter turnout and participation in local contests.
City Council had originally taken this up in early March 2007, when Mayor William D. Euille appointed the Alexandria Election Process Review Committee to “examine and make recommendations on possible options to not only move City elections from May to November, but to create staggered terms for Council and the School Board and revise Council and School Board compensation, based upon comparability with other jurisdictions in the region.”
Now, once again, at last Saturday’s Public Hearing (May 14, 2009), Council debated moving the local elections from May to November, which the Virginia General Assembly has agreed to allow. The percentage of registered voters over the last 30 years who have voted in the May elections has dropped from 41% to 15% in the last election. I can say quite honestly that since 1981, the year I was able to vote for the first time, I have not voted in the local election sometimes due to the lack of quality candidates. So I ask you dear readers, if you are registered and you don’t vote, why? Please let us know in the comments below.
Current Vice Mayor Del Pepper (Kerry Donley will succeed her as Vice Mayor in July) disagreed with this line of thought saying “If we move local elections to November, we will have to go to four-year terms, and I have always opposed this, feeling that we need to be closer to the voters. Also, moving our elections to November would mean that they would be held during some presidential elections and gubernatorial elections and would get lost.”
With Alexandria a heavily democratic City, if the elections are indeed moved to November, will the slate of Candidates get lost, thereby ensuring Democratic party success (one party rule) for years to come? That is one question I am asking myself as are a number of my friends.
The public will have an opportunity to speak on the matter, again, on June 13. Let’s show up and make our voice heard.
P.S. Speaking of one party rule, have you heard what some Alexandria Democrats have said about the recent election concerning the election of Alicia Hughes? Some members of the local Democratic Party have said that the Alexandria Republican Party was engaging in “voter fraud” with their “plunking” strategy. Jim Geraghty over at National Review has more information on this.