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Moffitt files bill to move district’s municipal elections to even years
Wednesday, 15 March 2023 20:39

From Staff Reports

RALEIGH — State Senator Tim Moffitt, R-Hendersonville, filed legislation on March 9 that would move all municipal elections in Henderson, Polk, and Rutherford counties from odd-numbered to even-numbered years. 

The “Increase Municipal Election Participation Act” (Senate Bill 265)  is designed to increase voter participation in municipal elections. Municipalities in North Carolina include any city, town or village.

“This reform reflects a trend happening all across the state, with Asheville and Raleigh being the most notable,” Moffitt said in a March 9 press release. “Without exception, every municipal election that has changed from odd-numbered to even-numbered years has significantly increased turnout.”

The release added, “In Asheville, the race for mayor in 2017 garnered 18,166 total votes; when the election was changed to even-numbered years in 2022, the total votes cast for mayor was 39,365 — an increase of 117 percent. 

“In Raleigh, the numbers were even more dramatic: in 2017, there were 54,788 votes cast for mayor. In 2022, there were 153,472 votes cast — representing an increase of more than 180 percent,” the release stated.

Moffitt added, “By putting municipal elections  on the same schedule as all the other races — including all county, state legislative, judicial and gubernatorial elections, as well all federal elections (U.S. Congress and the presidency) — county election boards will also save money because they aren’t running elections every year.

“That appeals to my inclination to always look for efficiencies and savings in state government.” 

The release noted that “in Henderson County, the legislation would affect the Village of Flat Rock, the Town of Fletcher, the City of Hendersonville, the Town of Laurel Park and the Town of Mills River; in Polk County, the legislation affects the Town of Columbus, the City of Saluda and the Town of Tryon; in Rutherford County, the legislation affects the Village of Chimney Rock, the Town of Ellenboro, the Town of Forest City, the Town of Lake Lure, the Town of Ruth, the Town of Rutherfordton and the Town of Spindale.

“SB265 would move 2023 elections in these municipalities to 2024 and extend the terms of the mayor and city/town/village councils as necessary to conform to the new schedule,” the release stated.

In concluding the release, Moffitt asserted, “Good governance and participatory democracy rely on an engaged citizenry. I wouldn’t be doing my job as a lawmaker if I didn’t help increase informed turnout in our local elections. The more folks who vote, the better. This legislation helps get us there.”



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