Newark to reconsider election years

The city of Newark could save as much as $115,000 by holding its elections in even years, according to a city staff report.

Newark’s next mayoral and council election is scheduled for November, making it the only Alameda County city holding elections in odd years. But the rising costs of elections might prompt Newark to change that. If the city goes it alone on Election Day, it would pay from $192,000 to $230,000, according to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters. But if Newark held the election a year later, in November 2014, its tab would drop to between $76,788 and $115,182.

The costs would be lower because Newark would split the bill with nine other cities and school districts in Alameda County, as well as other counties, the state and the federal government.

Councilman Luis Freitas requested last fall that staff employees start analyzing the benefits of switching. City Manager John Becker is scheduled to deliver a presentation on the issue to council members Thursday, but they are not expected to vote on it.

“When you look at the additional costs, I think it would be very difficult to continue with holding odd-year elections,” Becker said. “But we’ll see what the City Council says. Our recommendation is for them to discuss the item and provide any necessary direction to staff.”

Chris DeBenedetti