With the start of the school year just around the corner, can election time be far behind?
Even though Election Day isn’t until Nov. 6, the Riverbank City Council was busy in its June meetings, setting out deadlines and guidelines for the fall election. The council also established a ballot measure to be decided by voters this fall.
The council set the nomination period for city council seats to be contested during the election. That period is from Monday, July 16 through Friday, Aug. 10.
Potential nominees should note that Aug. 10 is a day that city offices would normally be closed, but only the Elections Office there will be open that day, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“By-District” Election System
In response to concerns of legal challenges and the state Voting Rights Act of 2001, city-wide voting and candidacy is transitioning to a “by-district” system, according to officials. Votes will now be made for candidates within a specific geographical boundary or district.
In the 2016 General Election, district boundaries were set and council member Darlene Barber-Martinez, representing District 4, in central Riverbank, and newcomer Cindy Fosi, representing District 2, in southwestern Riverbank, were elected. Districts 1, in the east, and 3, in the northwest, were not set, since the seats of the other two council members, Cal Campbell and Leanne Jones-Cruz, were not up for reelection. This year they are.
The trouble for electors is, both Campbell and Jones-Cruz live in the same district, D-3, and will need to run against each other if they seek to be returned to office. Following the fall election this year, District 1 and District 3 will be formally established.
The period for nomination papers to be taken out began on Monday, July 16, and will continue through Friday, Aug. 10. If an incumbent does not file by 5 p.m. on Aug. 10, the period is extended until 5 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 15.
City Election Clerk Annabelle Aguilar noted that, “for transition purposes, since both council members currently live in District 3, they will both be considered incumbents of that District.”
That means District 1 will not have an incumbent and therefore will not have its nomination period extended five additional days and will end at 5 p.m. on Aug. 10.
According to the election code, the seat of Mayor Richard D. O’Brien is elected at-large, meaning any Riverbank voter can cast a ballot for him in November. He was reelected on the 2016 ballot. His current term ends in 2020.
Measure B on Ballot
The city council also has added a ballot item, Measure B, to this fall’s General Election.
Measure B focuses on the City Of Riverbank Business License Tax.
The questions the measure poses is: “Shall the measure adopting an ordinance authorizing the City Council of the City of Riverbank to impose a business license tax at a rate of up to ten percent (10 percent) of gross receipts on cannabis businesses and dispensaries, to help fund general municipal services, be adopted?”
According to the filing, a simple 50 percent plus one vote will pass, or defeat, the measure.
This may also be the last General Election that California voters will travel to polling places to cast their ballots.
A new plan, including postage-paid return envelopes for vote by mail, is being considered by elected officials.