By Gavin Weise, U.S. Vote Foundation Civic Data Team
While the race for the White House and Congress gripped the nation in 2016, participation in – and even awareness of – local elections in the US has significantly declined in recent years, to an estimated average of 20% of registered voters. Voter turnout in special elections for vacant state and local offices is often in the single digits.
Ironically, these local elections concern the offices and issues that have clear and immediate implications for voters in their day-to-day lives – arguably more so than federal contests. Such elections are not only for mayors and council positions, but also local judges, sheriffs, clerks, school board members and other officials. Local elections also include community issues that are put directly to voters – through various ballot measures and initiatives.
Bottom line: these are the elections that affect you the most. Your quality of life is on the ballot.
U.S. Vote Foundation (US Vote) offers voters an opportunity to learn about upcoming local elections, and their important dates and deadlines. Expanding on years of successful work in federal elections, US Vote has recently released information on mayoral and city council elections taking place this year in the 200 most populous cities in the US.
US Vote's local Election Dates and Deadlines Chart lists dates for voter registration, absentee and early voting, and the Election Official Directory offers contacts info to local election offices. Also included is information on upcoming special elections to federal and state legislatures.
US Vote continues to update this list with a goal of including all municipalities of 100,000 residents or more, which have mayoral or city council elections in 2017.