Lancaster puts vote on ballot

first_img james.skeen@dailynews (661) 267-5743 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! LANCASTER – At the next election, Lancaster will ask residents whether they want to keep April elections or shift to November ballots. The city will put an advisory measure on the April2008 ballot to gauge when the public wants city elections to be held. Councilman Ron Smith asked for the vote, saying the issue was a frequent topic during his campaign for office. “I want what the people want,” Smith said. “Personally, I like our April elections. They’re exciting. It’s old-town democracy. But if the people want a November election, that’s fine by me.” The timing of the city’s election has been debated since 1994, when the state Legislature opted to move the presidential primary election from June to March. In the months after that move, both Palmdale and Lancaster looked at switching to November elections. Palmdale officials opted to make the switch. In Lancaster, public outcry about the possibility of the City Council extending its terms forced the council to abandon the idea. “It’ll give us a feel for what the people would like to do,” Vice Mayor Ed Sileo said. “My preference is to leave it in April as a stand-alone election. People are more focused on the issues, we wouldn’t get lost on a much larger ballot, the city would maintain control, and we would get results faster than turning it over to L.A. County.” Sileo said he also hoped legislation would allow for all-mail-in ballot elections for the city. Benefits of consolidating in November include an increase in voter turnout, although not guaranteed, and a decrease in the number of trips to the polls for voters. Stand-alone elections allow Lancaster to quickly count ballots; whereas, results for Palmdale elections often take several more hours to tally. Costs for switching the vote would be about the same, but there would be an additional cost of about $10,000 for voter notification if the election date were changed. last_img read more