Long Beach voters will determine Nov. 8 if future elections are permanently aligned with the state’s schedule or if they will revert back to the dates laid out in the city charter, which the city said would cost more money and require the purchase of new ballot-processing machines.
The city charter says that Long Beach primary elections are supposed to be held in April and runoff elections in June, but, with few high-profile races on the ballot, this often led to low turnout. A state law adopted in 2015 was meant to boost that turnout by putting cities like Long Beach on the state cycle, which has elections in June and November in gubernatorial years, and March and November in presidential election cycles.
Long Beach has complied with the law and partnered with the county to run its elections, but a lawsuit won by Redondo Beach has upended the process again. In that case, a judge ruled that charter cities like Redondo Beach and Long Beach could go back to their regular election schedules. Because of that, Long Beach needs to take a vote to decide.
A “yes” vote on Measure LBC would keep the city’s elections aligned with the state schedule, and a “yes” vote on Measure LBU would do the same for Long Beach Unified School District elections. A “no” vote would put the city back on its April and June election schedule. A simple majority of voters are required to approve the measures.
City officials say aligning with the state would save the city about $1.3 million per year and save it from having to purchase $2.5 million in new voting equipment it would need to conduct its own elections.
Opponents of the measures say aligning with the state would make elections less local, increase the cost of recounts and make election cycles longer than they need to be.