Last Tuesday, April 16, 2019, only fourteen percent of Ridgewood’s eligible voters participated in an off-cycle election (defined as any election not held in November) on the Ridgewood Public School budget for the 2019-2020 school year. This election cost Ridgewood taxpayers $50,000.
At best, this election was inefficient and at worst a thoughtless waste of Village resources and taxpayer money. Off-cycle elections present cost and security concerns in any community but more so in Ridgewood simply because we have so many of them — elections are held in April (school budget and Board of Education members) and May (Village Council) in addition to the traditional June primaries and November election. Ridgewood is now spending upward of $160,000 a year on elections. No wonder only 15 out of 560 school districts in our state still hold off-cycle budget votes.
Consolidating elections in November preserves the right to vote on any electable position. It also preserves the right to vote on the school budget if the school tax increase exceeds two percent. Both the Village Council and the Ridgewood Board of Education conduct transparent budgetary processes with ample opportunity for community participation, so taxpayers have the right to be heard on any budget issue.
Off-cycle elections are expensive, result in historically low voter turnout and present additional security risks by opening our schools to voters.
Let’s consolidate Ridgewood’s overstuffed, premium-priced election cycle. Please join us in saying YES to higher voter turnout, better representation, increased safety in our schools, and elimination of unnecessary spending.
One Village, One Vote!
* Over the coming weeks and months, we will be presenting data to the community about why it makes sense to move our elections to November. 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. We look forward to connecting with you.
Siobhan Crann Winograd