Like in many jurisdictions across the United States of America, local governments in Washington have a big voter turnout problem in odd numbered years, which is when elections are currently held for most of our local positions, including offices in city and towns, such as council, attorney, and mayor. Turnout is consistently under fifty percent and increasingly under forty percent. Leaders are thus being chosen in our state by a fraction of the electorate… a few, rather than the many.
By moving regularly scheduled elections for local positions to even-numbered years, we can ensure that key local offices are chosen by a much larger and more diverse universe of voters, because even-year turnout is consistently above fifty percent and often above seventy percent. We’ll accomplish this by changing our laws to allow local governments like cities and towns to choose when they hold their elections, rather than forcing them to elect all of their positions in odd-numbered years, as has been the case since the 1960s.
Learn more about our bill, SB 5723.