Recently the Florida Legislature moved the date of the State’s partisan Presidential Preference Primary from January to March 2016. With this change, the Orange County Supervisor of Elections asked the City of Orlando to change the City’s April election date for Mayor and Commissioners expressing concern that having the State and City elections so close together could lead to voter confusion as a result of overlap with absentee ballots for both elections and precinct confusion.
Eighty percent of American cities today hold their general elections on different days than state and national elections. Following this model, City staff evaluated alternative dates for the City election. Moving the date to later in 2016 did not seem appropriate as it would extend the term of the current elected officials. Concerns raised by the Supervisor of Elections Office related to absentee ballot overlap and precinct confusion would still exist if the election were held earlier in 2016. Given these factors, the City Attorney has recommended that the City of Orlando elections be moved to November 2015 bringing the added benefit that November is when most people are used to voting. The City elections will be held in odd years with November 3, 2015 being the date in the upcoming election cycle.
While this new date shortens the terms of incumbents, changing the City’s election to the first Tuesday in November of odd-numbered years will ensure that our elections never again conflict with the State’s partisan Presidential Preference Primary, eliminating any potential confusion for voters, preventing election overlap and ensuring our local elections remain non-partisan.
Three ordinances will be required in order for this date change to take effect. The attached ordinance changes the time of taking office for the newly elected officials to the second Monday of January following their election.
General Election Date: November 3, 2015 (the first Tuesday after the first Monday of the month)
Run-off Election Date: December 1, 2015 (4 weeks after the general election)
1 year residency/elector reqt.: City resident/voter before February 5, 2015*
*due to the change of date, this one-time, the date is being kept for the date it would have been had the election remained on the previously scheduled April 5, 2016 date
Term Start Date: January 11, 2016
Qualifying Dates: noon Aug. 31 - noon Sept. 4, 2015 - (60 days before the election)