Off-Cycle Elections Concentrated in Southern California

    Media Contact
  • Kathay Feng
California Common Cause report highlights how election timing affects turnout

SACRAMENTO – A report released today by California Common Cause examines the timing of elections in each of California’s 482 cities to determine which jurisdictions hold their elections concurrent with statewide elections in June and November of even years (on-cycle) and which jurisdictions hold elections at other times (off-cycle). It highlights the extent to which cities that hold off-cycle elections are concentrated in Southern California.

The report finds that of the 482 cities in the state, 113 cities (or 23 percent) hold their elections off-cycle. Of the total cities that hold elections non-concurrently, 69 percent of those cities are in Los Angeles County.

“Democracy works best when we have 100% participation,” said Kathay Feng, Executive Director of California Common Cause. “While eliminating barriers to voting and engaging voters through public education campaigns will also help to increase turnout, the single easiest policy change that will allow us to increase voter participation by double digits would be to consolidate off-cycle and special elections with statewide elections.”

“Across the state, but in Los Angeles in particular, voter turnout has been on a steady decline,” said Leila Pedersen, Program Manager for California Common Cause. “With an election held across the county on average every six months, it’s no surprise that most voters have no idea that an election is occurring. What we need is fewer elections and more voters voting.”

The report concludes with recommendations to the Legislature and local cities to help synchronize election dates.