DuBos: New Orleans election schedule needs to change

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wwltv.com

Posted on April 23, 2013 at 7:16 PM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 23 at 7:21 PM

A state Senate committee will hear a bill Wednesday to change the date that New Orleans voters elect the mayor and City Council. That’s the topic of this week’s Commentary by Eyewitness News Political Analyst and Gambit columnist Clancy DuBos.

Clancy DuBos / Eyewitness News Political Analyst

If you wanted to design an election to guarantee low voter turnout, you couldn’t do better than New Orleans’ municipal elections. They’re next February and March — right in the middle of Carnival season.

But that’s not the half of it. Qualifying for mayor, council and parochial offices is in December. Campaigning begins right before Thanksgiving, continuing through the holidays, Sugar Bowl, the BCS, Saints playoffs, Hornets basketball and, in 2010, the Super Bowl. You couldn’t build in more distractions if you tried.

That’s why the League of Women Voters of New Orleans is pushing a bill to move New Orleans elections up to October and November. Those are traditional election dates — and until 1982, that’s when we had citywide elections.

Tomorrow, the Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee in Baton Rouge will hear Senate Bill 191 by state Senator J. P. Morrell of New Orleans. It won’t affect the next round of citywide elections, but starting in 2015, it would give New Orleans a rational set of election dates. So far, nobody opposes Morrell’s bill. Let’s hope it stays that way.

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