Politics

Public hearings set for Los Angeles city elections

Public hearings will be held next month on whether the city of Los Angeles should move its elections.
Public hearings will be held next month on whether the city of Los Angeles should move its elections.
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

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The question of whether Los Angeles should move its elections to sync up with state and federal races will be considered at two public hearings next month, the council president said Friday. 

The city's Election Reform Commission recommends moving city elections to June and November of even-numbered years in order to boost voter participation. The last mayoral runoff, held in May 2013, drew just 23 percent of voters to the polls. The president of the Ethics Commission noted Mayor Eric Garcetti won that election with about 222,000 votes, even though there are 2.5 million to 2.8 million eligible voters in the city. In contrast, Los Angeles had a 69 percent turnout in the 2012 presidential election. 

"We have a mayor in charge of a multibillion-dollar budget, in charge of one of the greatest cities in the world who received less than 10 percent of the potential votes out there," said Nathan Hochman. 

By moving elections, some elected officials would serve 18 months beyond their four-year term. That's because the terms of office would have to match with the new election cycle. Alternatively, the city could hold a special election to fill the year-and-a-half term. 

The first hearing will be held on Oct. 8 at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall. A second hearing on Oct. 15 will be at the Van Nuys City Hall. 

Council President Herb Wesson said officials are still considering a lottery to reward one lucky voter. 

"We've been having, I think, one of the best and intense conversations about voter turnout that we've had in years and we've had that over the past six weeks," Wesson said.