Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings wants to see municipal elections moved to November. That's because between March and May, there will be three different elections in Dallas County.
“Let’s do it one time, let’s have the citizens study up,” said Rawlings.
Rawlings believes the amount of elections affects the turnout, and fewer elections would increase numbers.
“What happens when you put these elections in off dates and off periods, you are just catering to the folks that are just the advocates. You are not catering to the middle of that bell curve, and I think it’s bad for our society,” said Mayor Rawlings.
It has been done before. Houston and Austin have municipal elections in November.
We spoke to Collin County Elections Administrator Bruce Sherbet about whether moving the election would create a longer ballot and longer waits. He points out that Dallas votes in odd years, and November elections in odd years do not include Congress, the President, and legislature seats.
“When a voter goes to vote they are only voting for the candidate in their district. So even though, for example, if Dallas moved all of their elections to November odd years, when voters go in to vote they are not voting for 14 council districts. They are voting for their one council district, plus whatever else would be on the ballot,” said Sherbet.
But getting this done means going through Austin. The legislature must give the process a green light. According to the Texas Secretary of State's office, it's a check to keeps officer holders from extending their terms. Any move to change an election date would have to be approved during the next legislative session.
That is something Rawlings will push for.
State Senator Don Huffines tells NBC 5, “I appreciate the Mayor’s proposal and I’m eager to work with state and local stakeholders to draft a bill to make this happen. More voter participation and higher turnout mean stronger government that more closely reflects the will of the people. We need to do the same with bond elections.”
We contacted State Senator Royce West, who said he would consider this if it is what the community wanted.