Pelham Examiner

Mayor Volpe and Trustee Potocki oppose moving village elections to November

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To the editor,

On March 19, there will be a referendum on the ballot to change our village elections from their traditional March date to November. We ask you to vote against the referendum. 

Historically, village elections have been in the spring, and although moving them to November certainly sounds convenient, it will not be. Currently, the process to choose candidates is done through a party caucus that is held in mid-to-late January, and those in attendance vote for their slate to run in March. So basically, there is a two-month window to campaign. Realigning the village election to November will change that process to a system where candidates are endorsed by party committees and those candidates need to have petitions signed in order to run. That would occur in February—nine-plus months before the actual election. Should a member of a party who was not endorsed by committee like to run for office, they would also get petitions signed, which would force a primary in June and the primary winners would be candidates for their parties in the fall elections. This system would in effect make a ten-month commitment to campaign. It makes sense in higher office elections where campaign fundraising is critical, and the lengthy time is necessary to campaign geographically. This added eight months just isn’t necessary in our local government elections and in many ways makes the time commitment to campaign difficult for many residents who otherwise might like to serve our community.

Next, and perhaps most important is the focus on elections. This process change would mean that three trustee seats up for election would be aligned with the presidential and midterm elections and the focus of campaigning for local elections would be lost and shifted to an obscure placement on the ballot. The following year the mayor and other three trustee positions would be competing for attention with more local elections such as town and county. Village issues are important. Let them be decided without the clutter of November statewide and federal elections.

Finally, the argument that all elections should be in November because it’s more convenient to go to the polls just once—in November—is flawed. Our democracy is special. People die in this world for the right to vote. Going to the polls a few times a year—twice for political office and once for Board of Education purposes—is not burdensome for any citizen.

Very simply put village elections in the spring stand by themselves, and viable candidates can more readily campaign and get their message out to the public without any competing factors. It’s better for local government elections to remain in March.  Please vote No on the referendum to change our village election date to November. 

Michael Volpe

103 Boulevard

Pete Potocki

66 Boulevard

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Mayor Volpe and Trustee Potocki oppose moving village elections to November