County & Registrar Of Voters Turn Down 29 Palms H2O District Election Change Request

(March 25)  The county and the registrar of voters have turned down a request by the Twentynine Palms Water District to consolidate that entity’s  elections with the statewide general elections in November of each even-numbered year.
Currently, the Twentynine Palms Water District holds its board elections in odd-numbered years.  In years past, multiple governmental agencies throughout San Bernardino County held their elections in years that did not correspond with the even-numbered years in which presidential and gubernatorial elections are held along with those for state and federal legislative offices as well as those for county government.
Over the last several decades, a majority of those agencies, school districts and cities have changed their elections to even-numbered years.
On January 22, 2014, the board of directors of the Twentynine Palms Water District passed a resolution to move its governing board election to the statewide general election in November of each even-numbered year.
California Elections Code section 10404 authorizes a special district, by resolution of its governing board, to seek such a change, which needs to be ratified by the county board of supervisors.
Elections Code Section 10404 requires the registrar of voters conduct an impact analysis addressing issues of cost and capacity of the current system to accommodate the increased usage. The board of supervisors may deny the request for consolidation if it finds that the ballot style, voting equipment, or computer capacity is such that additional elections or materials cannot be accommodated.
According to Laura Welch, San Bernardino County’s clerk of the board of supervisors, “on April 17, 2007 the board of supervisors approved a policy to deny future requests indefinitely that are made by school, community college, and special district jurisdictions to change election cycles, from that of odd-numbered year cycles to even-numbered year cycles, until such time that the registrar of voters is able to accommodate such requests based on, but not limited to, one or more of the following: (a) the likelihood that additional district election cycle changes would not cause the absentee ballot to expand beyond the current two-card standard; (b) future technological or program enhancements become available to accommodate voting measure/contest volume growth; or (c) subject to further applicable provisions of the California Elections Code. The impact analysis from the registrar of voters reflects that this request would likely expand the ballot in the affected precincts beyond the two-card standard ballot and no changes have occurred that would accommodate the volume growth.”
In her report to the board of supervisors for the March 25 meeting, Welch wrote, “It is therefore recommended that the board of supervisors adopt a resolution denying the Twentynine Palms Water District’s resolution requesting consolidation of the district elections with the statewide general elections in November of each even-numbered year.”
The board followed Welch’s recommendation.

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