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Important Information About the 3/17/2020 Charter Amendment Vote

The Citizens for a Better Pompano Beach believe that an educated electorate is an important component of a well-run city.

Toward that end, we are providing this information, as well as our recommendations, for each of the three charter amendments on the March 17, 2020 ballot.

HOW TO VOTE 

  • Vote by Mail – What You Need to Know
    • Currently underway – if you haven’t received your ballot, it’s too late for this election. Contact the Broward Supervisor of Elections office well in advance of this November, since you may need to renew your request.
    • Vote by Mail ballots must be received by the Supervisor of Election’s office no later than 7:00 PM on Election Day.
    • A completed Vote by Mail ballot cannot be accepted at a polling place.
    • If you requested a Vote by Mail ballot and later decide to vote at the polls, take your Vote by Mail ballot with you to be cancelled at your polling place.
  • Early voting:
    • When: March 7-15, 10 AM – 6 PM
    • Where:
      • E Pat Larkins Community Center
      • Emma Lou Olson Civic Center
  • Election Day Voting:
    • When: March 17, 7 AM – 7 PM
    • Where: at your precinct polling place as specified on your voter registration card

AMENDMENT OVERVIEW

There are three amendments on the ballot for the March 17, 2020 election:

  • AMENDMENT #1 – Move city elections from November back to March
  • AMENDMENT #2 – Increase Commissioner terms from 2 to 4 years
  • AMENDMENT #3 – Stagger Commissioner terms

AMENDMENT #1 – Move city elections from November back to March

  • Since 2004, when the state gave cities the power, 25 of 31 Broward cities have moved their elections from March to November, including Pompano Beach.
  • None of these 25 cities have moved back to March.

The committee carefully considered and discussed these two options at length. In the end, the group consensus is that overall, while there are important advantages to having our City elections in March, we believe the disadvantages outweigh the advantages.

March Election Advantages March Election Disadvantages
  • City candidates could get more attention than they can in November
  • Voter inconvenience – you need to vote in an additional election
  • The city could stagger 2-year terms by holding elections every March (note: this is also possible with November elections, but there would likely be very skewed turnout in November city elections that don’t fall in years with presidential or gubernatorial elections. There are also additional costs as the city would fund the “off-year” elections. Therefore, we do not support annual elections – in either March or November – as a viable option.)
  • Much lower turnout
  • Those who vote in a local-only election are more likely to be voting because items of local interest are of importance to them.
  • There is usually no Early Voting (although there is for this March 17, 2020 election)
  • The city must (usually) pay for this additional election (since there is no county election taking place)
  • It’s likely that there will be skewed partisan turnout in presidential primary years (since the party primary occurs in March)

Recommendation: Vote NO

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AMENDMENT #2 – Increase Commissioner terms from 2 to 4 years

AMENDMENT #3 – Stagger Commissioner terms

Summary

In order to hold city commission elections only in November of even-numbered years, when statewide elections occur, the city must accept one of the following:

  • A minimum of four-year terms (to achieve staggering of terms)

OR

  •  Keep two-year terms, understanding that the entire commission could be replaced in a single election (as is currently the case).

To some degree, how you choose to vote on Amendments 2 and 3 depends on which is most important to you:

Most Important to You Vote
Avoid the possibility of replacing the entire commission in a single election YES on both Amendments 2 and 3
Avoid the possibility of being stuck for four years with a commissioner who turns out to be very unsatisfactory to you NO on both Amendments 2 and 3

However, while the Committee strongly believes in the importance of staggered terms (Amendment 3), as to Amendment 2, the Committee members hold different opinions and can see advantages and disadvantages to four-year terms. If our city has two-year terms AND staggered terms, then half of the Commission is considering the next election at all times. On the other hand, there are concerns about electing a leader who turns out to be a poor choice; having to live with that choice, for four years, can be problematic. Overall, our consensus is that the disadvantages of both of these amendments outweigh the advantages.

Recommendation:

AMENDMENT 2: VOTE NO

AMENDMENT 3: VOTE NO

We welcome your comments and questions about these important issues.

For those who are interested in more detail, please see the “Four Year Election Timetable” below.

Four Year Election Timetable, showing relative Pompano Beach voter convenience and turnout, and city cost

As shown below, November elections in even numbered years – as is currently the case – provide the highest voter convenience and turnout, as well as the lowest cost to the city.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this or any other issues that are of interest to you. Contact us here.

In addition, while we’re not as active as we plan to be during election season, we continue to incur the costs of keeping our organization going, which include website costs, email maintenance, and the like. We’d greatly appreciate your donations as we gear up for the 2020 campaign season, so please continue to donate.

Thanks so much for your support.

As a reminder, you can contact our City Commissioners and Mayor on the City’s “Commission” page, at http://pompanobeachfl.gov/pages/commission.

Thanks again for your support. Let’s keep it going!

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