February 27, 2009 - Board members push for new election years // SAN BERNARDINO: They say holding them in even years amid larger races takes focus away from local candidates.
Paper: Press-Enterprise, The ( Riverside, CA)
Title: Board members push for new election years // SAN BERNARDINO: They say holding them in even years amid larger races takes focus away from local candidates.
Date: February 27, 2009
Author: MELANIE C. JOHNSON, THE PRESS-ENTERPRISE
About five years ago, the San Bernardino City Unified School District switched its election years to even from odd to align with the more high-profile statewide and national elections.
Now, some board members who ran in November say the focus on the presidential election and the increased candidate-statement filing costs are reasons to switch back to odd years.
"When they voted to change it the first time, I voted against it," said board Vice President Danny Tillman. "I felt that if we put it with the presidential election, it would get overshadowed and it would cost more."
Tillman, who is serving a fourth term, said the cost to file and publish a candidate statement nearly tripled from the time he first ran to the November election.
The San Bernardino County registrar of voters office said the cost to include a candidate statement in the recent election materials was $2,920.
The board took the initial action needed to make the switch last week when the trustees voted 6-0 in favor of a resolution to the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors.
Kari Verjil, the county's registrar of voters, confirmed that she had received the district's request but said the process is in the initial stages.
It likely would take at least 60 days to complete, Verjil said.
The request first goes to the Board of Supervisors for acceptance, then Verjil would do an impact analysis and send a recommendation to the supervisors to approve or deny, she said.
The analysis would include looking at costs and how they might be shared by other local entities with races in the odd years, she said.
Along with the year an election falls in, other factors affecting costs in the past have included changes in voting systems, she said.
Most school board and special district elections are in even years, she said. The ballot typically is larger in those years, but there are more jurisdictions to share the costs, Verjil said.
San Bernardino school trustee Judi Penman said she supports the switch, both because of the increased costs to candidates for mailers, signs and filing fees, and the lack of visibility in the larger elections.
Voter turnout increases when statewide and national races are on the ballot, but there is less focus on local candidates, she said.
"When you have a larger turnout, people don't always know who they are voting for," Penman said. "With a small election, you have less people voting, but people have more knowledge of the candidates."
Record Number: 856045
Copyright (c) 2009 The Press-Enterprise Co.