Combining State and Local Elections Makes Sense

Article excerpt

Byline: Ronald L. Littlepage

Spinning around the news dial . . . click.

State Rep. Stan Jordan, who has had a penchant throughout his political career of stirring things up, is at it again.

This time he wants the Legislature to change the dates for Jacksonville's city elections so that they coincide with the gubernatorial election cycle.

Under Jordan's proposal, beginning in 2010, the races for mayor, sheriff, City Council, supervisor of elections, property appraiser and tax collector would be held in the fall of that year instead of the spring of 2011 and the winners would take office on Jan. 1.

Jordan's plan has some council members and others grumbling.

One complaint is that having such a long ballot -- city offices, legislative seats, governor, constitutional amendments, etc. -- would confuse voters. Another is that it would be difficult for candidates to raise money with so many running at once.

Jordan counters that complaint No. 1 doesn't give voters enough credit. Complaint No. 2 doesn't merit a response.

Why is Jordan pushing the changes?

He believes there would be a higher voter turnout with more races on the ballot. But, more importantly, the move would save the $2 million to $3 million it costs to have separate elections.

Considering the state of the city's budget, that sounds mighty good.

Click.

Speaking of elections, a major flap could be brewing over talk of Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland shutting down some precincts and opening others because of population shifts.

Preliminary discussions focus on closing as many as 12 precincts in areas dominated by African-Americans and Democrats, while opening additional precincts in Republican heavy areas like Mandarin. …

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