State Rep. Thomas Albert, of Lowell, has introduced legislation to ensure more voices are heard during elections which determine the fate of local millage proposals.
Albert’s bill limits local millage proposals to the November ballot, unless a statewide special election or recall election is being considered.
“Voter turnout is historically roughly 30% in August and 20% in May elections,” Albert said today. “We should have a goal of maximum voter turnout when ballot questions impact a voter’s tax bill. Voter turnout is clearly highest during November elections.”
Albert said he has heard from senior citizens who feel as though local millage proposals are intentionally placed on the ballot during elections for which low voter turnout is expected. Some seniors are not aware that the millage was on the ballot until they later receive their new tax bill.
“Seniors on fixed incomes cannot afford to pay more and more in taxes every year,” Albert said. “It’s important to ensure that we protect our seniors and we must end the practice of taxation without voter participation.”
In addition, Albert noted that local districts save money by holding elections in November. “Costs for conducting an election can be quite high, and it’s a more efficient use of taxpayer dollars to put school millage proposals on the ballot when statewide elections are already being held,” Albert said.
House Bill 4814 was referred to the House Elections and Ethics Committee.