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John Nephew

Maplewood City Council Policy & Politics


Special Election Discussion

In last week's election, sitting councilmember Will Rossbach won the race for mayor. This will mean a special election in 2010. Numerous residents have asked me about the mechanics of this, so I brought it up at Monday's council meeting. Here is the discussion:

To summarize:
  • When Rossbach takes the oath of office as Mayor, it creates a vacancy in his council seat.
  • Since more than 6 months remain in Rossbach's council term, the 2005 ordinance requires that we hold a special election.
  • There is some flexibility as to when exactly to hold the special election.
  • The earliest it could be held is about 90 days after the vacancy is declared, in order to comply with all the relevant state laws (notice, filing periods, etc.).
  • If we combine the special election with another election (such as the state primary), we can save the $26,000 we otherwise would have to spend on a stand-alone special election.
  • Regardless of when the special election is held, the ordinance requires the council to appoint a person to fill the vacancy until the winner of the special election is sworn in, just as happened in 2005.
From what I've read and a recent conversation with a legislator, it sounds like it is very likely that the primary date will be moved up from September to August. This change was in the elections reform bill that was passed and vetoed last session, but it was not itself a controversial provision. (Besides having bipartisan support, it will be needed in order to comply with pending changes in federal election law.) The idea of moving it forward is to protect the voting rights of Minnesotans overseas, especially the deployed members of our military. General election ballots obviously can't be printed and mailed until the primary results are finalized (sometimes including a recount, as in one of the judicial primaries last year).

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love the hawaiian, councilmember. keep it up!

Last week's election put me in a celebratory mood. And you know, "aloha" means "hello" *and* "goodbye." :)

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