Mayoral Elections in California: 1995-2014
Political observers’ assumptions about local election trends are often based on anecdotes, incomplete observation or simply conventional wisdom. However, the Kinder Institute for Urban Research and its Center for Local Elections in American Politics offer a first-of-its-kind way to analyze elections. In California cities where mayoral elections coincide with the presidential elections, voter turnout is more than double that of cities where mayoral elections are conducted off cycle, LEAP found. This study confirms existing work on the relationship between the timing of elections and turnout but also sheds important new empirical light on the nature and magnitude of this relationship. Policymakers will find this analysis helpful when seeking ways to improve political participation and strengthen local democracy in America.
If you’re like most Americans, you probably think Election Day is some time in November. But for local contests in Los Angeles – like many other cities – elections are held at a lesser-known point on the calendar. Now, new figures show just how great an effect election timing has on mayoral contests. On average, mayoral elections held off cycle in California have less than half the voter turnout of mayoral elections that coincide with presidential contests.