Pelham Examiner

Trustee Eldahry backs proposition to move Village of Pelham elections to November

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To the editor,

On March 19, when you go to the polls to cast your vote, I urge you to vote yes for Proposition 1, concerning whether to change the date of the annual general village election to November.

Currently, the annual general election of the Village of Pelham is held on the third Tuesday in March of each year. If Proposition 1 is approved by a majority of voters, the election shall be moved to the Tuesday succeeding the first Monday in November of each year—the same date we take part in Election Day for all other elections, except primaries.

The proposition shall read as follows:

Shall the month of the annual general village election of the Village of Pelham be changed to November?

I strongly support the consolidation of village elections. Moving our local village elections to November would mean more voter participation and higher turnout. To me, that’s an indicator of a stronger government that more closely reflects the will of the people.

Moving our local elections to November offers additional benefits, including:

  • The burden of multiple trips to the polls would be reduced—primaries will be held in June and general elections in November. Most voters like the idea of voting less often!
  • Less voter confusion  since many people don’t associate the month of March with voting.
  • Eliminating the caucus system, which is not at all voter friendly. (How many of you have been to a caucus?)

At times, our village caucus has been attended by as few a dozen residents. That means that a small minority of our population decides who will run on each party line. In contrast, holding a primary is a much more democratic way to select our candidates.

To allow for full consideration of the issue, I will share the major issues opponents to this change have noted along with my own perspective on these arguments. For one, opponents to the proposition are concerned that, in the shadows of larger state and federal elections, less attention will be paid to village races and issues. In my opinion, however, November elections will actually motivate voters to pay attention to local issues that will also be on the ballot—and which they may otherwise be unaware of if they only vote in November.

Opponents also say that, given the recent New York State election reform laws, candidates would have to declare their candidacy much earlier and the longer time frame may therefore dissuade potential residents from running for local office. I suggest that a longer campaign period keeps local races from simply being a popularity contest. It forces candidates to clearly state their platform while allowing new faces to get their name out. In other words, what’s better for the voters should outweigh what’s more convenient for the candidates.

Now is the time! Let’s empower our residents by making their participation in local government as uncomplicated and easy as possible. Please vote yes for Proposition 1 to change the date of our local elections to November.

Below please find the new election schedule should Proposition 1 pass, followed by a comparison of the primary versus caucus process.

ELECTION SCHEDULES

If Proposition 1 passes, the village election calendar shall be adjusted as follows:

Positions for Election Current Elections Schedule Revised Elections Schedule
(if Proposition 1 passes)
3 Trustees March 2018 N/A
1 Mayor, 3 Trustees March 2019 Proposition passes
3 Trustees March 2020 November 2020 (terms for group elected in March 2018 shall be extended until January 2021)
1 Mayor, 3 Trustees March 2021 November 2021 (terms for group elected in March 2019 shall be extended until January 2022)
3 Trustees March 2022 November 2022
1 Mayor, 3 Trustees March 2023 November 2023
3 Trustees March 2024 November 2024
1 Mayor, 3 Trustees March 2025 November 2025

Caucus vs Primary

Currently, candidates for the Village of Pelham Board of Trustees are selected by a caucus process, held by each party, in January of each year.

If Proposition 1 passes:

  • Candidates for each party will be determined through a primary process.
  • Primaries for all November elections will be held in June.

Hanan Kamal Eldahry

120 6th St.

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Trustee Eldahry backs proposition to move Village of Pelham elections to November