This November Ridgewood will vote on whether to consolidate its elections.
One Village One Vote’s goal is to expand democracy in Ridgewood by increasing the number of people who vote in municipal and school elections. Nationally, participation in local elections drastically increases when they are held in November versus at other times. In addition, the people who vote in November are more representative of the community as a whole than are far smaller numbers of people who vote in off-cycle elections.
In Ridgewood, a small group of people has fought to keep the consolidation question off the November ballot to prevent us from voting on this issue. Why? Because they want to hold and maintain power in our Village.
FACT 7: Off-cycle elections in April and May favor incumbents and special interest groups
When local elections are moved to November, local participation is 49% higher. Election results are more balanced, reflecting the input of the whole community. Incumbents and special interests are less likely to win.
It makes sense–in April and May, when fewer people vote, small changes in turnout have an outsized effect on election results. This means that a small group of voters can mobilize and disproportionately affect election results and our Village’s future.
Nationally, only 27% of registered voters participate in municipal elections. In Ridgewood, the numbers are similar. In the last few local elections, less than 30% of voters determined who was chosen for Village Council and school board and decided whether the school budget would pass.
According to Prof. Zoltan L. Hajnal, Professor and Associate Dean at the University of California San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy: “If you care about local elections, this is the single most important reform…. Nothing else comes close to… expanding democracy the way that on-cycle elections do.“
We agree with Professor Hajnal. Maximizing voter turnout and minimizing the incumbent and special interest advantage will level the playing field and make our local democracy stronger.
*** Now you can make it happen. Your 2020 General Election ballot will be arriving in the mail very soon. Make sure you follow the directions carefully to ensure your vote gets counted. Fill it out right away, and make sure to VOTE YES on the Municipal Question to move our local elections to November. ***
One Village, One Vote!
Siobhan Crann Winograd
Be sure to sign up for emails at www.onevillageonevote.com in order to receive all of the latest information and learn how you can help support this change in our Village. Thank you.