By Raul Samaniego
NORWALK – The Norwalk City Council voted 5-0 on November 21, to approve Ordinance 17-1698 which called for the changing of Election Dates to comply with California Senate Bill 415.
For Norwalk residents, it means that with the approval of the ordinance, “all five council members have added another 12 months to their terms,” according to City Clerk Theresa Devoy
With mayor Luigi Vernola, vice mayor Leonard Shryock and council member Margarita Rios up for re-election in 2019, they now have until March of 2020.
Both new council members Tony Ayala and Jennifer Perez will be up for re-election consideration in 2022.
Rios was elected to complete the term left vacant when Marcel Rodarte left in 2016.
SB 415 was signed by Governor Brown in September of 2015. It was hoped that by moving those municipal elections from odd-numbered years to even, it could increase the voter turnout for those elections.
By doing so, proponents of the effort hope that by having more voter turnout, the vote could better represent the demographics of the region.
Norwalk has had a 51.9% average voter turnout during even numbered years and a dismal 12.5% average in the odd-numbered years.
In last November’s presidential election, 70.9% of Norwalk’s registered voters turned out at the poles. For those who don’t remember, that ballot was the longest in California’s history.
This transition was mandated by the law which becomes such on January 1, 2018.
The Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District took similar measures last year when it adopted the mandates also.
The measure does not mean that the State will only have elections in even years, just municipal elections for the selection of officials representing the constituency.
Those who had demonstrated a higher level of voter turnouts in odd years are exempt from this stipulation.