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Posted on: August 30, 2019

BOMA to consider City Election date change at September meetings

Image of the hands of numerous voters putting their paper ballots into a voting box

The Spring Hill Board of Mayor and Aldermen (BOMA) in September will consider the first reading of an ordinance that would change the Spring Hill City Election date to align with the November General Election date as a potential way to help improve low voter turnout for municipal races. 

Spring Hill municipal elections are currently held in April. (City election ballots can include choices for both mayor and alderman as well as referendum questions).

A number of political positions and possible alternative solutions also are being discussed among the board, including:

  • Aligning with the November election could cause Spring Hill elections to become more focused on fundraising as mayoral and alderman candidates would likely have to raise significantly more in campaign funds in order to be visible enough to attract votes during a high-profile election.
  • Votes cast in the non-partisan, stand-alone City election in April are typically by voters specifically concerned about City issues; whereas, the County, State and Federal elections in August and November are partisan and draw voters only interested in casting votes in higher-profile political races, and while aligning with those could result in a greater quanity of votes, it may not result in “quality” votes.
  • Holding our City elections in November would increase voter participation as there's a consistently larger voter turnout for State and Federal offices on the ballot. Having a separate date for City elections tends to favor incumbent candidates.
  • Aligning with the August elections to possibly draw a larger turnout but avoid City elections being potentially overshadowed in November by a focus on national elections.
  • If our City election is moved to either August or November, it would extend future elected BOMA members' 4-year terms to approximately 5 1/2 years in the next two municipal election cycles.

The City of Spring Hill recently conducted a local survey asking Spring Hill residents’ whether the BOMA should consider changing the City Election date, or consider other potential election changes aimed at improving voter turnout. We received 235 verified responses to the survey from city residents. These are the results:

28.8% - No. Spring Hill can improve voter turnout by adding precinct locations, expanding voting hours, and providing additional election notices.

11.2% - Yes. Change the date to August.

52.8% - Yes. Change the date to November.

7.2% - Other

At its July meeting, the BOMA deferred voting on the ordinance to the September meeting. The board will take up the issue again at 6 p.m. at the Tuesday, Sept. 3, work session, and consider it for a first reading vote at the 7 p.m. Sept. 16 regular meeting. The second and final vote will be taken at the October meeting. 

BOMA meetings are live video streamed on our website at www.springhilltn.org/video, and also are available afterwards on-demand at the same location.

News Release-9/4/19
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