Law Professors Chris Elmendorf and David Schleicher have this op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle of February 28. They present evidence that non-partisan elections are faulty, because many voters are so dependent on party labels, they simply won’t vote in elections without party labels. The op-ed focuses on elections for San Francisco city office.
The op-ed suggests that statewide political parties aren’t relevant to San Francisco politics, so they don’t recommend making San Francisco elections partisan. Instead, they suggest that the city amend its election ordinances to list on the ballot which candidates for city office, other than Mayor, are endorsed by the Mayor.
A better solution, which isn’t mentioned in the op-ed, is to make it possible for local political parties to be recognized. Many cities and counties in other parts of the United States have local political parties and partisan elections for local office. This is especially true in Connecticut, New York, and Illinois. California election law relating to political party qualification does not permit a party to be recognized in just part of the state.