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Falls Church Petition on Election Date Change

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To the Members of the Falls Church City Council: The undersigned citizens of the City of Falls Church urge you not to make a decision by ordinance to move elections for City Council and School Board from May to November. Rather, if the date of these elections is to change, only the citizens of Falls Church should change it through a referendum.

To date, Council members supporting a change in the election date have stated primarily one reason for making such a change – increasing voter participation in City elections. Increased voter participation is a goal we all share, but it does not trump all other ramifications.

As the League of Women Voters of Falls Church articulated in its 2001 study of this issue, there are potential negative consequences to moving the election date, including: a) City candidates and local issues could be overshadowed by national/state candidates and issues; b) the possible end of nonpartisan elections for City Council and School Board; and c) new City Council and School Board members would take office in the middle of a fiscal/school year and budget process.

These significant considerations call for direct decision-making by the voters, as numerous citizens stated at the November 23 City Council meeting. For an issue regarding voter rights, this City Council should not impose its own will. Voting is the right of all the voters, not just elected officials, or in this instance, a mere majority of sitting City Council members. City Council should not disregard this right.

We therefore call upon the Falls Church City Council to refrain from voting on its own volition to move the elections for City Council and School Board from May to November. If the elections are to be changed, it should only occur after due consideration of all consequences of such change and a citizen referendum.



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Petition sponsored by: Christine Sanders Marty Meserve Barry Buschow Louis T. Olom


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