City to change City Council election dates beginning 2020

To comply with California Senate Bill 415, San Gabriel will be changing its City Council election dates to the first Tuesday after the first Monday of March of every even-numbered year beginning in 2020. This would mean that San Gabriel’s next City Council election will be held on March 3, 2020.

Per the bill:

This bill, commencing January 1, 2018, would prohibit a political subdivision, as defined, from holding an election other than on a statewide election date if holding an election on a nonconcurrent date has previously resulted in voter turnout for a regularly scheduled election in that political subdivision being at least 25% less than the average voter turnout within the political subdivision for the previous 4 statewide general elections, except as specified.

This bill would require a court to implement appropriate remedies upon a violation of this prohibition. The bill would authorize a voter who resides in a political subdivision where a violation is alleged to file an action in superior court to enforce this prohibition, and it would allow a prevailing plaintiff other than the state or political subdivision to collect a reasonable attorney’s fee and litigation expenses, as provided.

SB 415 was originally drafted to increase voter participation in local elections. Since voter turnout increases during statewide elections, cities that don’t meet the 25% threshold are required to change their election date to coincide with the state. This will hopefully allow municipalities – like San Gabriel – to capture additional votes.

If you’ve been keeping track, the City Council formally approved the change at the December 5 City Council meeting, which you can read here. As part of the ordinance, the City will be making a push to spread the word about the change of date. Informational postcards have already been sent out to registered voters, and we’ll be publicizing the word on social media and the city’s website in the coming weeks in English, Chinese, Vietnamese and Spanish.