Testimony was taken and it eventually led to the tabling of House Bill 1219 by the bill’s sponsor.
HB 1219 would have required school districts to join with municipalities for annual elections to be held on the second Tuesday of November. However, Rep. Hal Wick decided to request the bill be tabled, which it was on a 14-0 vote, following opposition testimony.
ASBSD opposed the bill.
ASBSD Policy and Legal Services Director told committee members “state law allows” school boards, municipalities and counties to join together for elections already.
“That’s a lot of…local discretion in the system,” Kaufman said.
Kaufman also noted the bill would pose a logistical problem for school boards. An election held in November would create a lengthy gap – November to July – between new board members taking their seats on the board and members not re-elected to seats remaining on the board.
“It just doesn’t make sense,” Kaufman said.
Rep. Wick said motivation for the bill was to “try and increase the (voter) turnout” as the number of voters voting in local elections is statistically lower than in general elections.
Kaufman said he appreciated the voter turnout concern, but added that voters still had the right to participate.
“Every registered voter has the right to participate should they so choose,” Kaufman said. “Voter turnout varies based on the nature of the election.”
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