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Tuesday March 5, 2019 — Local Elections
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City of Signal Hill
Measure M - Majority Approval Required

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Election Results


643 votes yes (57.1%)

483 votes no (42.9%)

Shall the measure, amending the City Charter to change the City's General Municipal Election date to the Statewide Primary Election date of the first Tuesday after the first Monday in March of even-numbered years (from current date of the first Tuesday after the first Monday in March of odd-numbered years), commencing on March 8, 2022, and as a consequence extending one-time councilmember terms by one year, be adopted?

What is this proposal?

Details — Official information

Impartial analysis / Proposal

Signal Hill municipal elections are currently held on the first Tuesday in March of odd-numbered years, which is the date of this election. This Measure would change the time for Signal Hill municipal elections to the first Tuesday in March of even-numbered years.

There are two types of cities in California, those known as “General Law” cities because they are subject to the general laws of the state, and “Charter” cities which, under California Constitution, have “home rule” powers. For home rule cities, in municipal affairs, laws set forth in the Charter prevail over state law.

The City of Signal Hill, by a vote of the people, adopted a Charter in 2000. Under the Charter, elections are a municipal affair. The Charter provides in Section 800 that municipal elections will be held on the first Tuesday in March in odd-numbered years. After the current March 2019 election, the next odd-numbered date is in March, 2021, and then March, 2023.

The California Legislature in 2015 adopted SB 415 (The Voter Participation Act) to encourage higher voter participation by requiring local election dates to be moved to be held on the same date as statewide elections if there was more than a 25% deviation in turnout between the local elections and the statewide election. There has been such a deviation in Signal Hill elections.

Under SB 415, the City has two choices for changing the election dates as stated in SB 568 and Elections Code 1000: To even-numbered years and to either (A) first Tuesday after first Monday in March; or (B) first Tuesday after first Monday in November.

The City Charter can only be amended by the voters. The City Council has placed on the ballot two Charter amendments to Section 800, one changing the election to even-numbered years, either on the qualified election dates in March or November.

If the currently Charter-mandated election on March 2021 is moved to November of even years (November 2020), then the terms of councilmembers up in March of 2021 will be shortened by four months. If the election is changed to March of even years, then the March 2021 election would be delayed until March 2022 and council terms up in March 2021 would be extended a year.

If both measures pass, the one with the most votes prevails under Cal. Const. Art. § 10(b). If neither passes, then the existing Charter provision is unchanged. Although local elections are a municipal affair and there is legal precedent upholding the validity of the existing charter provision, SB 415 stated that voter participation was a statewide matter and on July 11, 2017 the State Attorney General issued an opinion to Pasadena that SB 415 applied to charter cities. Attorney General opinions are influential with the courts but not binding. However, litigation could result if neither measure passes and the City does not amend its Charter.

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against

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