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Our View: Even versus odd

Published 9:03am Thursday, April 25, 2013

There are many reasons why Niles should change city council elections from odd-numbered years to even-numbered years.

First, it would save the city money — an estimated $4,600 every odd election year. Granted, it is not a lot of money, but every little bit helps when municipalities are pinching every penny.

Second, and perhaps most importantly, it would increase the number of people voting in city elections. By switching to even years, the city would be able to tie into major elections, which historically attract more voters to the polls.

To illustrate that point, councilman David Mann wrote in his monthly column that only 7.8 percent of registered voters in Niles turned out in the 2011 election. That number skyrocketed during the presidential election of 2012 when 47 percent of registered voters in Niles hit the polls.

It’s a remarkable increase.

The even-year switch, if passed, would not take effect until next year.

It is worth noting that anyone elected to the council in the upcoming November election would serve a five-year term, instead of four years. This is because terms of office can’t be shortened, only lengthened.

So why is this coming up now?

In December, a bill was signed allowing cities to change election cycles from odd-numbered to even-number years.

The council is expected to vote on the issue during its regular meeting at 6 p.m. May 13.

If you want to voice your opinion on this issue, a public hearing will be held prior to the meeting at 5:55 p.m.

The views expressed in this editorial are those of the editorial board.

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