November election in Jersey City is a good idea

Dear Editor:
Earlier this month the Assembly passed a bill that allows cities with non-partisan elections to move their municipal elections from May to November. What a fantastic idea on two fronts: voter turnout and cost savings. November elections typically have greater turnout (30 percent in 2009) which would translate into higher participation in our local elections. And by eliminating the now unnecessary May election, the city could save several hundred thousand dollars – the equivalent of several municipal jobs.
Those opposed to a switch to November elections cite arguments such as the possibility of runoff elections falling between Thanksgiving and Christmas and the increased likelihood of partisanship creeping into our “non-partisan” elections. The runoff problem is easily solved with a method employed successfully in California: instant runoffs. By ranking the candidates on the first ballot, you can achieve the same result you get with a runoff, only without the added cost of an additional election. As for partisanship, it’s already here. The only thing that currently makes our elections “non- partisan” is the fact that we effectively have one party rule.
At a time when the city is drowning in red ink, we should embrace every sound idea that saves taxpayer’s money. The fact that moving to November elections also would lead to greater participation in the democratic process should make it a no-brainer. It seems to me the only people who would possibly argue against this are acting out of fear and self-preservation.


John Thieroff
Jersey City

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