SCROLL DOWN TO VOTE: SHOULD GOODYEAR CHANGE ITS ELECTION CYCLE? YES OR NO?
Opinion Piece by Jen Barber
Today we were tagged in a Facebook post by Gilligan for Goodyear. As you may recall, we mentioned former Goodyear City Council candidate Sara Gilligan went to Council on June 5th speaking in favor of moving City elections to the same election cycle as the State of Arizona.
Moving Goodyear's election is estimated to cut cost to tax payers and increase voter participation.
Arizona's elections are held in the fall of even-numbered years. Goodyear's are held in the spring of odd-numbered years. Concerns regarding the waste of tax payer dollars to keep this All-America City's election off the State's election schedule has been discussed at length over the years. And voter turnout and participation is dismal. In 2011, the Goodyear Votes grassroots group pushed for Goodyear to move its election cycle to no avail.
Goodyear's City Charter ARTICLE IX. SECTION 5. states "Primary elections shall be held on the second Tuesday in March of odd-number years preceding the General election on the third Tuesday in May of odd-number years."
IMPORTANCE OF HISTORY
This debate is not new.
In 2012, Gov. Jan Brewer signed House Bill 2826 requiring municipalities, counties, and school districts hold primary elections in August and general/runoff elections in November of even-numbered years. Find out more here.
As reported in the Kingman DailyMiner here:
The League of Arizona Cities and Towns suggested 76 of 91 towns and cities in Arizona would have had to move their election dates.
Check out this presentation posted online and attributed to Maricopa County Elections Department.
"Consolidated Elections" explains the challenged and amended A.R.S. State Statute 16-204. Essentially, Charter Cities like Goodyear can still choose when to hold elections.
HOW TO CHANGE A GOODYEAR CITY ORDINANCE
The Goodyear City Charter states Council can act by "motion, resolution or ordinance." A majority vote of council members is required for a motion, resolution or ordinance to pass. You can read more under ARTICLE VII.
But, if Council is unwilling to do so....
Residents can take advantage of an initiative option to influence public policy. It's shown in Goodyear's City Charter ARTICLE X.
Check out this handy guide on Initiatives an Referenda from Secretary of State Michele Reagan.
We contacted League of Arizona Cities and Towns to find out the process for starting this initiative in Goodyear. Here's what we were told.
Oddly enough, we just came across this article regarding Arizona's Governor Doug Ducey "approved a bill that makes it easier to keep citizen initiatives off the ballot by tightening the legal standard proponents must meet. He said in a statement that voter-approved laws allow substantial and permanent changes to state law." Challenges to the new law abound.
This is the law. If the voters of Goodyear truly want to change the election cycle, someone will need to step up to get the process started. It's going to take time and money. And I'm quite sure it won't be as easy as it sounds in description above. (Just getting enough signatures to be placed on the ballot as a candidate is a lot of work.) The State's guide to Initiatives and Referenda show statewide petitions require formation of a committee, an established bank account, statement of organization, chairmen, etc. I'm not sure what the requirement is for Goodyear as we have not heard back from Goodyear or Maricopa at the time of publication.
Goodyear Votes, a grassroots group, had a lot of momentum and media coverage in 2011. (Its Facebook page appears to have been edited since we visited it last week.) Their effort failed - or really never took off. So, if changing Goodyear's election is going to be a successful venture... it needs to be well organized from the get go.
VOTE NOW - DO YOU SUPPORT GOODYEAR'S ELECTION CYCLE BEING MOVED TO THE STATE ELECTION CYCLE TO SAVE TAX PAYER MONEY AND INCREASE VOTER TURNOUT?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jennifer Barber is a Goodyear resident resident of almost 20 years and a retired broadcast news journalist. Involved in various nonprofit and city organizations since 2008, Barber has a unique view of what's happening in the West Valley of Arizona.