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How Should Mill Valley Local Elections Comply With the California Voter Participation Rights Act? (SB 415)

Senate Bill 415 – the Voter Participation Rights Act requires the City of Mill Valley to switch from its current November, odd-year election date to either a June or November even-year statewide election date. At its March 20, 2017 Regular City Council meeting the Council discussed the matter and indicated that it would like to gather input from the community at-large before making a decision on the City’s transition plan.

SB 415 was signed into law on September 1, 2016, to address declining voter turnout in off-cycle, odd-year, Federal, state and municipal elections. Recent election cycles have experienced increasingly low voter turnout, and research suggests that when local governments choose to go on-cycle and align municipal elections with statewide elections in November, turnout  increases. For the past four even-year November elections, Mill Valley’s average voter turnout was 71.81% -- a 34.21% increase from the last odd-year election. The voter turnout in June of even-numbered years is more robust than odd-years as well, showing a 6.12% increase from the last odd-year election.

The Council welcomes greater voter turnout but recognizes that campaigning during Presidential elections is more difficult due to higher campaign costs and may, by virtue of competition for voter attention brought by state and federal campaign efforts diminish focus on local issues and candidates. Councilmembers discussed a number of options including creating a one-time 4.5 year term and moving City election dates to June of even-numbered years.

We would like your input on this topic. 

Click here to take the survey online or submit your responses by email to the City Clerk at: cityclerk@cityofmillvalley.org

Please indicate which of the following options City Council should adopt for future Mill Valley elections:

  • Option 1: Council should add six months to each current Councilmember’s terms – eliminating the November, 2017 and 2019 elections completely and holding elections in June, 2018 and 2020 respectively;
  • Option 2: Council should change the terms of the 2017 and 2019 elections so upcoming Councilmembers would serve a one-time 4.5 years instead of 4 years (subsequently, June, 2022 and June 2024 would be the next elections following the upcoming 2017 and 2019 elections).
  • Other – Alternate suggestions.

The Council will be reviewing this topic again on Monday, April 17, 2017, and we’d like to include community feedback in the report to City Council. Please note that if you support an Option that is not listed above, you may submit that to the Council as well in the “Other” section. Council Communications may be sent to the City Clerk at: cityclerk@cityofmillvalley.org, or may be mailed c/o City Clerk, Mill Valley City Hall, 26 Corte Madera Avenue, Mill Valley, CA.

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