Jersey City Councilman Steven Fulop announced today that he will introduce legislation to move the city’s elections from May to November.
“This will not only save Jersey City significant cash, but it makes sense. It is challenging to get the people to come out for each election, when they are held at incongruent times,” said Fulop in a written statement. “We should move the elections to the people. I have been watching this legislation for the past year and believe it could fundamentally change how cities like mine are run. This is crucial for Jersey City to reach beyond the political machine to have a more representative election.”
The state assembly yesterday passed legislation giving municipalities the option to change the dates of their non-partisan elections to November, which will concur with the November general election. It had already been passed by the senate and is expected to be signed into law by Gov. Jon Corzine.
About 30,000 Jersey City residents voted cast votes in the May municipal election, versus about 39,000 who turned out for the November general election.
Eighty-six of New Jersey’s 566 municipalities hold non-partisan elections in May.
The law would likely benefit Fulop, a reform advocate long at odds with the power structure in Jersey City who has his eye on running for mayor in 2013. Increased turnout would allow him to appeal to voters less connected to the city’s political machinery.
Fulop is not sure how the other council members will react to the proposal, but said he will look to put it up as a referendum if they do not support it.
“If they say no we will do it the hard way like we have done before. There is absolutely no reason for them not to do it,” he said.