COMMERCE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Commerce City Council is choosing to hold a special municipal election on June 2 so that voters may decide whether they approve the massive expansion of the Citadel Outlets Mall, yet the rapid spread of the Coronavirus in Los Angeles County continues to accelerate at a pace that demands immediate response from cities across the County. Rather than prioritizing the needs of corporate developers, it is crucial to the health of the Commerce community that the City respond to this global public health crisis responsibly and immediately. The City of Commerce has an obligation to postpone its special election until more information is known about the impacts of Coronavirus.
The working people who live and work in Commerce deserve the highest level of protection from their city government. Many people living in Commerce work in retail and hospitality, and do not have access to healthcare or paid leave. The Coronavirus pandemic is already expected to take a substantial toll on hospitality workers. A large citywide event will only exacerbate the impacts the pandemic will have on Commerce residents and workers.
The Commerce City Council is not required by state law to hold this special election on June 2. Given the increasingly dire public health crisis and the demonstrable ways in which a local municipal election might pose significant risks to Commerce residents, it is most logical to postpone the Special Election to the upcoming –and already scheduled –November 3, 2020 General Election.
The conditions of a city-wide election on June 2 are particularly prone to contribute to the community spread of the Coronavirus. Vote-by-mail ballots for the election are expected to be mailed out as early as May 4. The handling and sealing of vote-by-mail ballots poses significant risks of virus transmission.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Coronavirus is spread mainly through person-to-person contact and through the transference of respiratory droplets. Voting in a citywide election, both in-person and through vote-by-mail, a process in which Commerce residents receive, complete, and seal a ballot into an envelope using saliva, poses significant risks of viral transmission. Other regions throughout the country and the world are grappling with the impacts Coronavirus may have on local elections.
It is crucial to the health of the Commerce community that the City Council respond to this global public health crisis responsibly.