Miami Beach Referendum 1: Mayor’s term limit

Miami Beach

This post is part of our voter guide for the Nov. 5 local elections. Head to the main landing page for a guide to some other key races.

In addition to three commission races, Miami Beach voters will have to vote on six referenda when they head to the polls. The first referendum reads like this:

Effective with City’s November 2021 General Election, shall Charter Sections 2.01 and 2.02 be amended to: Increase Mayor’s term from two to four years; Change Mayor’s term limit from three two-year terms to two four-year terms; Retain Charter’s retroactive measurement and calculation provisions; Prohibit persons from serving as Mayor for more than eight years (period including years previously served as Mayor), except to complete a term, one-half of which has been served?

This item is pretty straightforward but it would create a ripple effect in Miami Beach politics starting in 2021.

If approved, mayors in Miami Beach would serve four-year terms instead of two-year terms. They would also serve a max of eight years in office instead of the current six. And their time in office would change from a max of three, two-year terms to two, four-year terms.

The change would keep a mayor in office longer, if they’re re-elected, and could potentially result in less turnover. It also wouldn’t require a sitting mayor to gear up for a campaign every two years. But skeptics wonder if there will be reduced turnout if an election cycle doesn’t have a mayor’s race on the ballot. (Notably this year’s election doesn’t include the mayor’s race, as no candidates qualified to run against incumbent Dan Gelber.)

This referendum also includes a mandate that a mayor can’t serve for longer than eight years, including any previous time as mayor, unless there’s a special circumstance and they have to complete the other half of a four-year term.

If you vote yes, then you’re supporting Miami Beach mayors serving four-year terms (and no more than eight years in office) starting in 2021.

If you vote no, you’re supporting the current system of mayors serving two-year terms (and no more than eight years in office) starting in 2021.

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