The campaign to combine Los Angeles’ elections with state and federal contests has been hailed by backers as a way to lift the city’s dismal turnout, which in the last mayoral race was 23%.

But more than a dozen candidates for City Council now say that they oppose the idea, claiming it could make races more expensive and give a leg up to incumbents and others backed by special interests.

Charter Amendments 1 and 2 were put on the March 3 ballot by the council to reverse a decline in voter participation during the odd-year city and school board elections. On the campaign trail, however, several candidates — some experiencing their first brush with the election process — have begun warning that the date change would have other, less positive, consequences.

—David Zahniser and Emily Alpert Reyes

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