School Board OKs Election Change

With a unanimous vote, the San Marino School Board became compliant with a state law requiring certain political subdivisions to have even-numbered-year elections.
The vote adds a year to each of the sitting board members’ terms, now slotting their terms to expire and be replaced in even years. The School Board previously conducted elections in November of odd-numbered years.
Board President Nam Jack, Vice President Joseph Chang and Clerk Shelley Ryan, each of whom was elected in 2013, will now serve through 2018 instead of 2017. Board members Chris Norgaard and Lisa Link, who were elected in 2015, will now serve through 2020 instead of 2019.
“We thought about it a lot,” Jack said last week, following the board’s meeting. “We really did think it out and the voter data was really eye-opening.”
Senate Bill 415, which was signed into law last year, requires political subdivisions whose previous odd-numbered-year elections drew a quarter less voter turnout than those in the previous four even-numbered-year statewide elections to adjust their elections to follow the state.
Under those guidelines, the latest School Board election would have to have had a 48% turnout, as weighted against the four-year 64% average turnout of San Marino voters in even-numbered years. The 2013 school board election (neither Norgaard nor Link were challenged for their seats last year) instead had a 22% turnout.
“The discrepancy was really huge, so we had to come up with a plan,” Jack said. “There was no division [on the plan] and it ended up being a unanimous vote.”

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