San Diego – State Senator Ben Hueso announced today that Senate Bill 415, a measure that will dramatically increase voter turnout in local elections, was signed by the Governor today. Local governments whose voter turnout is 25% less than the average turnout in that city will be required to consolidate their elections with state elections.
“I am thrilled that the Governor signed this bill. We must protect our voices as voters and celebrate our most sacred right as Americans. Voter participation in any election gives us the opportunity to challenge the issues at stake and redefines our commitment to our state of California,” stated Senator Hueso. “This bill sends a clear message that California’s leaders support the effort to increase voter turnout and respect a democratic process.”
Studies have consistently shown that elections that are not consolidated with statewide and federal elections have significantly lower voter turnout. A 2001 study by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) found that, on average, voter turnout in off cycle municipal elections was 25-36% lower than elections held during statewide races. In fact, the PPIC estimated that California could have drawn 1.7 million more voters in municipal elections, roughly a 31% increase in total voter participation.
SB 415 applies to local governments whose elections already have a 25% decrease in voter turnout compared to the last four statewide races. It requires local governments to consolidate the election starting 2022.