City Council approved the adoption of a resolution that will place on the ballot — during a special municipal election in June — a measure asking voters whether or not they want to amend the city charter to consolidate local elections with state primaries.
If approved, general municipal election dates will shuffle from the first Tuesday in April of odd-numbered years to coincide with California primaries, in this case, March 2020 and 2022.
The resolution also calls for a special municipal election to be held on June 5, when residents will vote on the new measure.
Council members decided last year that Glendale can no longer run its own general municipal elections every odd year in April due primarily to the California Voter Participation Rights Act, or SB 415.
The legislation — signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2015 — prohibits local governments from holding a municipal election on a date other than a statewide election if the voter turnout for the previous four local elections is “at least 25% less than the average voter turnout for the previous four statewide elections.”
Another motivating factor for the change is rising costs associated with running a local election.
According to a city staff report in November, if Glendale were to continue its April election date, the costs would be between $1.3 million and $2.3 million, depending on the number of seats on the ballot. To compare, L.A. County estimates a consolidated election would cost around $250,000 during primaries or about $230,000 during general elections.
The consolidation with California’s primaries would extend the terms of council members elected in 2015, Vartan Gharpetian and Paula Devine, and those elected last year, Vrej Agajanian, Zareh Sinanyan and Ara Najarian, by 11 months.
The terms for the city clerk and city treasurer would also be extended the same amount of time.
Although voters may reject the amendment in June, City Atty. Mike Garcia previously said there is still “a very strong argument” that state law would preempt the voters’ decision.