Date for special election for vacant City Council seat announced

municipal advertising darrell clarke
(Credit: Rikard Larma / Metro).

The vacant City Council seat is officially up for grabs.

Council President Darrell Clarke announced Tuesday morning that a special election will be held on May 20 to elect a replacement for Bill Green’s vacant at-large council seat. The seat emptied last month after Green assumed the role as chairman of the School Reform Commission.

Outside his 4th-floor City Hall office Clarke said he did consider leaving the seat unfilled for the duration of Green’s term.

“I did give consideration to all potential outcomes, but the fact that it is close to two years left on the unexpired term I thought it would be prudent to go ahead and call the special election to have that particular seat filled,” he said.

Clarke said he has not had any conversations with US Representative Bob Brady, who chairs the city’s Democratic City Committee, about who the Democrats will choose to run for the open seat.

“I called Congressman Brady, actually last night, to alert him that we were probably going to call a special election, but we have not specified that until today.”

“I anticipate,” he added, “That people will quickly be contacting the chairpersons of both parties.”

Clarke said no one has asked for his support.

Under city law, the president of City Council is tasked with setting a date for a special election.

This is a one-step election, which means the candidate chosen will win the seat. All registered voters in the the city are eligible to vote in this election since this is not a primary.

The deadline to register to vote in the special election is April 21.

The new councilmember will serve the last two years of Green’s term – which ends in 2016.

Democratic, Republican and Independent candidates can be placed on the ballot.

Since a primary won’t take place, the Democratic and Republican parties will both select one candidate according to their own rules. These candidates are not required to obtain signatures from voters. Each party must announce its candidate by no later than April 8.

Any potential Independent candidates are encouraged to contact the County Board of Elections at 215-686-3943 to obtain the required forms and instructions to run.

Of the requirements, an Independent candidate must be nominated by a political body, and is required to garner a specified number of signatures from registered voters. Also, a registered Democrat or Republican can’t run as a nominee of a political body unless they register as an Independent before filing their paperwork.

The deadline to nominate an Independent candidate is also April 8.

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