| August 9, 2011

Increase voter turnout: Vote in November

Local and municipal elections are being held today in more than a dozen Oklahoma counties. If you’re like me, you have no clue if there’s any sort of election or tax proposal today on which you’re eligible to vote.

Low voter turnout in spring and summer elections is a perennial source of hand-wringing. But Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels—did I mention he’s coming to Tulsa?—has done something about it, at least as it relates to local school-board elections. Gov. Daniels recently signed a law moving those elections from the spring to the general-election ballot in November. Sean Cavanagh, who covers state education policy for Education Week, reports:

The Indiana governor says spring elections lead to anemic voter turnout, and make it easier for interest groups to sway an election and stack a school board with candidates it likes. … “Spring is when we have primaries,” the governor said, and “nobody votes. … It’s a lot easier to dominate … the outcome and elect a school board, a friendly school board, in the sparsely attended primary elections.” With the change, “we'll have more of the public at least eligible, or at least on hand, to take part in these elections,” he added.

I said it in an OCPA report 13 years ago and I’ll say it again now: Oklahoma should move its local school-board and school-bond elections to November.

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