In a 4-1 vote, the City Council voted to move the date of the city’s general municipal elections to the first Tuesday after the first Monday of March of every even-numbered year beginning in 2020. Previously, the city had held its elections on the first Tuesday in March of every odd-numbered year.
This move was made to comply with Senate Bill 415, which requires local entities to move their election cycles to coincide with state elections in an effort to increase voter participation. If local election turnout is at least 25% below the average turnout in the last four statewide general elections, the local entity must change the date of its elections to match the state. Since the city determined that its election turnout has not been within 25% of the statewide average, it must adopt a transition plan no later than January 1, 2018 to modify its dates.
The change in future election dates will allow the County of Los Angeles to operate San Gabriel’s elections, with San Gabriel officials overseeing the management of each election cycle. Having the county operate future elections is expected to lower costs for the city. With the ordinance now approved on the city level, the city will now submit a formal request to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors for final approval.
As part of the ordinance, councilmembers that have a term that expire in March 2019 or 2021 will now have their term expire in March 2020 and 2022, respectively. San Gabriel councilmembers are elected to four year terms, and are elected on a staggered basis.
As part of the ordinance, the city will inform all registered voters in city of the change in date with public notices and postcards.
Mayor Costanzo, Vice Mayor Harrington, Councilmember Liao and Councilmember Menchaca voted for the motion while Councilmember Pu voted against, noting that “it would be better policy for us [the Council] to move our elections to November of the even years.” Councilmember Pu also said that he “didn’t want to delay the second reading, but that it could be the subject of future discussion.”