The immediate effect would be to make Los Angeles the largest municipality in the country to have their local elections held in the context of the much more significant statewide elections held in even years. Oh, and for good measure they would give all officials elected in 2015 or 2017 terms of office that last five-and-a-half years instead of four year terms!
Even though the Los Angeles Times half-heartedly recommended a yes vote on these charter amendments, they highlighted the MULTIPLE problematic aspects of the measures:
But although we believe in the idea, we're disappointed in the execution. The City Council chose to align mayoral and citywide elections with gubernatorial elections starting in 2022, and to match the lower-impact council races with the presidential elections starting in 2020.
If officials wanted the highest possible turnout for the highest-impact elections, they would have paired mayoral elections with presidential elections, which typically draw 70% to 80% turnout in the November runoffs. Also, there are more local races in a mayoral election year, so combining those ballots with the presidential would have meant higher turnout for a greater number of local races.
What's more, the city's March mayoral primaries tend to draw more voters than June primaries in gubernatorial years. Since 70% of city races are decided in the primary, some people worry that the city might not see a big boost in turnout by moving the mayoral race to the gubernatorial year. To switch to the new election cycles in 2020 and 2022, the City Council had two choices: either hold special elections in 2019 and 2021 for a shorter-than-usual 18-month term or lengthen the terms of city officials elected this year and in 2017 by 18 months, giving them a one-time, extra-long 51/2-year term. Not surprisingly, the officials chose the second path.
As a result, voters won't know if they're voting in new City Council members for four years or 51/2 years — and won't find out until they learn whether the amendments have passed. There is also concern that local elections will be overshadowed by the national and state races. Local candidates will appear at the end of a long ballot that could include dozens of high-profile races. Campaigning may become more difficult and expensive as local candidates fight for voter attention and limited airtime.
Finally, moving the election won't address the underlying causes of low turnout — the civic malaise that prevents so many Angelenos from becoming engaged in the democratic process and leaves them feeling that local elections don't matter. Charter Amendments 1 and 2 treat a symptom of the disease, but not the disease. It is essential to continue to seek ways to cure that through campaign finance reform, civics education and diverse, engaging political candidates.And this is what the supporters of the measure say about it to urge you to vote for it! Well, I disagree. We Angelenos deserve better. VOTE NO ON CHARTER AMENDMENTS 1 and 2!