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GR City Commission will move to even-year election cycle in 2022

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City of Grand Rapids
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After voters approved the idea in November, the Grand Rapids City Commission is officially moving its election year cycle from odd years to even.

The Grand Rapids City Commission unanimously approved the idea Tuesday evening, but state election law required them to do so…many city commissioners were against the idea, including Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss, who told WGVU back in October she feared moving city commission elections to even years, (which would then correspond with midterm and presidential elections) would politicize the commission seats, which are all non-partisan.
While Former City Commissioner Ruth Kelly says that in today’s volatile political climate, not enough discussion has been had around the issue.

“We have become uber partisan in the United States, terribly partisan,” Kelly said. “And I know that even in non-partisan situations as an elected, you can get pressured from one party or another. And there will be a temptation for the parties to want to advance candidates, use the city commission as a stepping stone and then move onto the state right away. When you really need people to stay focused on the city, to get those policy objectives taken care of.”

Supporters argue, that having elections in odd-years is a form of voter suppression, while more people would vote for city commission races if they were already at the polls to vote for the Presidential race.

Voters agreed in November by over 3,000 votes, and the city commission will now hold its next election in 2022. City Commissioners who were up for re-election or term limited in 2021 will have another year added on to their current term.