Monday, October 5, 2015

Could Moving Municipal Elections to November Increase the Youth Vote?

Posted By on Mon, Oct 5, 2015 at 11:09 AM

  • Theresa Thompson/Flickr

San Antonio City Councilman Ron Nirenberg thinks moving municipal elections to from May to November in even-numbered years will boost the youth vote.

Typically, elections during even-numbered years result in higher voter turnout because of national elections while off-year elections that often focus on local elections draw fewer voters.

Nirenberg made the comments at the University of Texas at San Antonio Civic Engagement Summit Monday morning, according to a news release.

“Our most precious natural resource is an active and engaged citizen, and each vote cast is an investment in our future,” Nirenberg said in the release. “Moving municipal elections from May to November is an important step toward greater participation and more significant community input.”

To start, Nirenberg sent a letter to State Rep. Lyle Larson, requesting state legislation that would allow San Antonio the option to change the date of its municipal elections. Separately, he asked the City of San Antonio's Charter Commission to recommend necessary changes to the charter.

When Austin switched its municipal elections from May to November, voter turnout increased from 10.7 percent to a little more than 40 percent, according to the news release.

During the May 2015 municipal elections, which featured a competitive mayoral race, 10 contested City Council races and six ballot propositions, just 12 percent of registered voters showed up to the polls, reflecting two decades of "dismal" participation in May elections, according to Nirenberg.

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