Ann Arbor City Council Member Calls For Non-Partisan Elections

Aug 7, 2014

Ann Arbor's next City Council is set after this week's Democratic Primary since winners face no opposition in November. Less than 17 percent of the city's registered voters participated in Tuesday's primary. One council member thinks switching to non-partisan elections will increase the number of residents participating in selecting Ann Arbor's elected officials.  

Ann Arbor
Credit Andrew Cluley / 89.1 WEMU

In November Ann Arbor voters will consider a charter amendment to re-establish requirements for running for office.  Second Ward council member Jane Lumm pushed for the charter question and thinks a community discussion is also needed about partisan elections.  The lone independent on council thinks greater diversity could result, "There's one way to really improve the elective process, make it more inclusive.  I think that would be, that's an important area to address in the charter."

Primaries could still take place in August with a run-off election in November.  Lumm says Ann Arbor's tradition of being a ghost town in August makes the current system particularly susceptible to a small percentage of the electorate deciding who wins city races.

In Michigan only Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and Ionia use partisan elections for city council and mayor.

A University of Michigan professor recently studied the impacts of partisan mayoral races.

Like 89.1 WEMU on Facebook and follow us on Twitter— Andrew Cluley is the Ann Arbor beat reporter, and anchor for 89.1 WEMU News. Contact him at 734.487.3363 or email him acluley@emich.edu.