The City of Tucson

The Tucson Charter Change Coalition (TC3)

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Recommendation: Change city elections to even-numbered years.

Strong voter participation is essential to good city government. The experience of other cities has proven that moving city elections to even-numbered years, when they can be combined with state and national elections, has had a dramatic increase in voter turnout. A study in California, where 40 percent of cities have switched to even-numbered years, showed voter turnout increases that ranged from 25 percent to 36 percent.

Moreover, combining city elections with state and national elections saves significant amounts of money. It costs much less to piggyback a city election on a state and national election than it does to conduct an entirely separate city election.

Recent city elections in Tucson have cost from $1.7 million to $2.7 million, so the potential for savings is substantial.

Possible action

Change the charter to move mayor and council elections to even-numbered years. The TC3 recommendation is to continue with staggered elections. However, if council members prefer going to concurrent elections, in which the mayor and all the council members are elected at the same time, the coalition will support that approach.

Previous Recommendation: Mayoral Parity