Municipal Elections Could Be Moved to November
A citizens committee has gathered 1,800 signatures to put the question on the ballot in a public referendum in November.
In addition to voting for president, senate and school board, Hoboken residents will have to decide if they want to move municipal elections to November when they head to the polls this fall.
On Wednesday, a petition of approximately 1,800 signatures was delivered to the Hoboken City Clerk's office by the Vote Yes For November citizens’ committee.
When certified by the city clerk, the petitions will allow the people of Hoboken to decide this November when future municipal elections will be held.
Currently, Hoboken's non-partisan municipal elections are held in May, with a possible run-off election in June.
Besides moving the elections from May to November, residents will also be asked if the run-off election should be eliminated. In the past, said member of the citizens committee Vijay Chaudhuri, the outcome of the run-off has always been the same as the outcome of the first round of elections.
"It's extra money, extra time for something that’s not going to change," he said in a phone interview on Wednesday.
The change would mean a "winner take all system," explained Chaudhuri, similar to to the process of electing federal and state office holders.
"In theory, the runoff system is not a terrible system," Chaudhuri said. But, he continued, "in Hoboken it can be used to force a run off, to prevent the front runner from getting 50 percent and this is not the way it should work."
Fewer elections will also increase voter participation, Chaudhuri said, noting that in 2009, there were five municipal elections in a span of eight months.
With the initiative, the committee hopes to increase voter participation and make it easier to vote. The measure is also supposed to save roughly $100,000 a year.
The Board of Education decided to move its elections to November, through a vote by the board. Those elections will take place on Tuesday, November 6.
The Vote Yes for November committee is a grassroots organization, said Chaudhuri.
The committee is made up of residents David Denning; Sasha Conroy; Zoning Board member Phil Cohen; former council candidate Eric Kurta and Chaudhuri.
Chaudhuri said that people have responded positively to the suggestion.
"By the time November rolls around," he said, "people will know and make an educated choice."