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'96 Presidential Primary Will Force Cities to Shuffle Elections

October 13, 1994|SUSAN STEINBERG | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Like hundreds of municipalities throughout California, Westside cities are faced with rescheduling their elections to make way for the 1996 presidential primary. And that could mean incumbent city officials will have to cut short their terms in office or extend them by up to 11 months.

The conflict, which could give seated city council members terms of almost five years, arose when the state Legislature changed the California presidential primary date from June, 1996, to March 26, 1996, to give the state more leverage in the presidential campaign.

But the revised date causes a conflict with municipal elections scheduled for April 9, 1996, according to the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder. The county has said it will be too busy with the primary to provide the cities with the usual support services for municipal elections, such as ballot boxes, street indexes and signature checks for absentee ballots.

When it changed the date of the presidential primary, the Legislature stipulated municipal elections could be rescheduled as long as no term of office was changed by more than 12 months.

Officials in Beverly Hills, West Hollywood and Malibu, all of which use the county's election services, have indicated that they will probably follow the majority of California cities and change Election Day to March 4, 1997.

The Beverly Hills and West Hollywood city councils were scheduled to take up the matter next week; Malibu had not yet put the issue on the council agenda. Santa Monica avoids rescheduling since it holds municipal elections in November. Culver City's charter stipulates that it can only change the election date by a public vote.

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