A report released today entitled MassForward recommends, among other things moving local elections to even numbered years, in other words hold them at the same time that we’re electing our presidents, senators, governors and other state and federal leaders.
This report from Commonwealth explains that the the recommended change aims to address “low voter participation rate, especially in municipal races, which occur on off-years.”
The study recommends shifting the electoral calendar so that municipal elections would occur on even years – when state lawmakers and members of Congress are up for re-election. Every other even-year election in Massachusetts is either a presidential or gubernatorial election as well.
Less than 20 percent of Boston’s adult residents voted in the 2017 mayoral election and, according to the study, political scientists have established that low turnout elections are are dominated by people who are plugged-in to the movers and shakers, while young people and the disadvantaged are under-represented. In town meetings, the way smaller municipalities govern themselves, only two percent of eligible adults participated.
Would this move be good for Newton? Would it help achieve the report’s stated goal of engaging more young voters and minority representation in our elections?