Print Page   |   Contact Us   |   Sign In   |   Associate Member?
AIC Blog
Blog Home All Blogs
Search all posts for:   

 

View all (94) posts »
 

2017 City Candidate Elections: Frequently Asked Questions

Posted By Justin Ruen, Thursday, June 29, 2017

This Q&A covers the basics of the 2017 city candidate elections for both candidates and city clerks.  If you have any questions about the election process, please call the AIC office at (208) 344-8594.

Question: Will AIC be sending an election manual for the 2017 general city election?

Yes, the manual will be completed in the coming weeks and AIC will email the manual and filing forms to all city clerks.  We will also mail one paper copy of the manual to every city clerk.  The manual will also be available for free download on AIC’s members only website, and additional paper copies may be ordered for a fee.

Question: What is required to change the compensation for elected officials?

Ordinances changing the compensation for elected officials must be passed by the council and published at least 75 days prior to any general city election (Thursday, August 24, 2017).  The salary change takes effect January 1 following the election—Idaho Code 50-203.

Question: Are term limits in effect for the 2017 general city elections?

No.  Idaho’s term limits statute was repealed by the 2002 Idaho Legislature.  There are no restrictions on the number of terms city mayors and councilmembers may serve.

Question: Are candidates for mayor or council required to report their campaign contributions and expenditures?  Are campaign contributions limited to a specific dollar amount?

Idaho’s Sunshine Law, which requires reporting of campaign contributions and expenditures by candidates for state and local office and sets dollar limits on contributions, only applies to cities over 5,000 population―Idaho Code 50-420.  There are no requirements for reporting and no contribution limits in cities with less than 5,000 population.  For more information on the requirements of Idaho’s Sunshine Law, see AIC’s Campaign Finance Reporting Manual.

Question: Is the city clerk responsible for publishing any legal notices associated with the 2017 city election?

The only legal notice the city clerk is required to publish is the notice to potential candidates (see Appendix B of the 2017 Election Manual for City Clerks for a model form), which must be published once as a legal notice in the official city newspaper between Friday, August 25 and Friday, September 1, 2017.  The notice must include: the name of the city, the date of the election, the offices up for election, that filing forms are available from the city clerk, and the filing deadline—Idaho Code 50-411.  The notice of election and sample ballot are published by the county clerk.

Question: How does a candidate get their name on the ballot? 

To get their name on the ballot, a candidate must submit a Declaration of Candidacy (see Appendix D in the 2017 Election Manual for City Clerks for a model form) specifying the office and term for which they are running and affirming they meet the following legal qualifications to run as of the date their Declaration of Candidacy is submitted to the city clerk:

•     At least 18 years of age,

•     A U.S. citizen,

•     The candidate’s primary residence must be within the city,

•     The address of the candidate’s voter registration must match the residence address provided on the candidate’s declaration, and

•     The candidate must have resided in the city for at least 30 days prior to submitting their declaration.

The Declaration of Candidacy must be accompanied by one of the following:

•     A Petition of Candidacy (see Appendix E in the 2017 Election Manual for City Clerks for a model form) signed by at least five qualified city electors.  Before filing the petition with the city clerk, the candidate must have the signatures verified by the county clerk, who attaches a certification to the petition indicating the number of signatures that are of qualified city electors.

OR

•     A nonrefundable filing fee of $40—Idaho Code 50-406. 

For the 2017 general city election, candidates are required to submit their Declarations of Candidacy (with the requisite fee/petition) between Monday, August 28 at 8:00 a.m. and Friday, September 8 at 5:00 p.m.—Idaho Code 50-410.

Question: A candidate signed her name as Mildred C. Fisher on the Declaration of Candidacy, but is known as Catherine Fisher.  How will her name appear on the ballot?

The name on the ballot must appear exactly as the name is written on the candidate’s Declaration of Candidacy.  The city clerk should advise candidates that how their name is written on the declaration is how their name will appear on the ballot.  If the candidate has a nickname, then it should be in quotes between their first and last names: James “Scooter” Johnson.

Question: Can a candidate sign his or her own Petition of Candidacy?

Yes.  There is nothing in the law that prohibits a candidate from signing their own Petition of Candidacy.

Question: Is the city clerk required to check the signatures on a Petition of Candidacy against the signatures on the voter registration cards?

No.  Petition signatures must be verified by the county clerk before the petition is submitted to the city clerk.  The county clerk will attach a certificate to the petition indicating the number of signatures that are of qualified city electors—Idaho Code 50-410. 

Question: May a registered city voter sign petitions for two candidates running for mayor?

Yes.  The law no longer requires a person to sign only one candidate’s petition for each office up for election.  Now, a registered city voter is free to sign as many petitions as they want.

Question: Must the city clerk notarize a candidate’s declaration and/or petition, or can the candidate have it notarized elsewhere?

Any notary duly authorized by the State of Idaho can notarize a candidate’s declaration and petition. 

Question: Is there a deadline for candidates to withdraw from the election? 

Nominated candidates (those listed on the ballot) have until Friday, September 22 to withdraw from the election by filing a notarized statement of withdrawal with the city clerk (see Appendix G in the 2017 Election Manual for City Clerks for a model form)—Idaho Code 34-1405A. 

Declared write-in candidates may withdraw at any time up to the election by filing a notarized statement of withdrawal with the city clerk (see Appendix G for a model form).

Question: Which council positions will be up for election to two-year terms?  

Idaho Code 50-704 provides that councilmember vacancies “shall be filled by appointment made by the mayor with the consent of the council, which appointee shall serve only until the next general city election [held in November of each odd-numbered year], at which such vacancy shall be filled for the balance of the original term.”  

An appointed councilmember serves until the next general city election in November of an odd-numbered year, at which point:

•     If the normal four-year term of office concludes at the end of December of that year, the position is up for election to a four-year term.

•     If the normal four-year term of office has two years remaining at the end of December of that year, the position is up for election to the remaining two years of the term.  At the end of the two-year term, the position is up for election to a four-year term.

Two-year terms ensure that the city stays on cycle with half of the council positions up for election to four-year terms at the general city election in November of each odd-numbered year—Idaho Code 50-701. 

In the November 7, 2017 general city election the only council positions up for election to two-year terms are those filled by appointment in 2016 or 2017, which have a four-year term of office expiring December 31, 2019.    

For example, John Smith was appointed on May 5, 2017 to fill a vacant position on the city council that has a term of office expiring December 31, 2019.  This position will be up for election on November 7, 2017 for a two-year term.  Mr. Smith may choose to run for the two-year term, or may choose to run for another office, including a four-year council position or mayor.  Regardless of who is elected, the position will be up for election again in November 2019 for a four-year term. 

If Mr. Smith were appointed on May 5, 2017 to fill a vacancy on the city council with a term of office expiring December 31, 2017, the position would be up for election at the November 7, 2017 general city election for a four-year term.

Question: Our mayor was appointed since the last election.  Is the office up for election this year, and if so, is it for a two or four-year term?

Idaho Code 50-608 provides that “When a vacancy occurs in the office of mayor by reason of death, resignation or permanent disability, the city council shall fill the vacancy from within or without the council as may be deemed in the best interests of the city, which appointee shall serve until the next general city election, at which election a mayor shall be elected for the full four (4) year term.” 

If a person was appointed mayor in 2016 or 2017, the office is up for election at the 2017 general city elections for a four-year term of office. 

Question: What is the deadline for write-in candidates to file?

Tuesday, October 10, 2017 is the deadline for write-in candidates to file their Declaration of Intent with the city clerk indicating the office and term for which they are running and affirming their qualifications to hold the office, if elected.

Write-in votes are only counted when cast for a person who has filed a Declaration of Intent with the city clerk at least 28 days prior to the election.

Write-in candidates are only required to file the Declaration of Intent with the city clerk—they are NOT required to submit a petition or $40 fee.  

See Appendix F of the 2017 Election Manual for City Clerks for a model Declaration of Intent for write-in candidates.

Write-in candidates are required to meet the following qualifications as of the date their Declaration of Intent is submitted to the city clerk: 

·         At least 18 years of age,

·         A U.S. citizen,  

·         The candidate’s primary residence must be in the city, 

·         The candidate must be registered to vote, and the address of the candidate’s voter registration must match the residence address provided on the candidate’s declaration, and 

·         The candidate must have resided in the city for at least 30 days prior to submitting their declaration.

Question: Can candidates campaign on Election Day?

Candidates can campaign on Election Day—however, candidates should be aware that campaigning within or near a polling place on Election Day (known as “electioneering”) is a criminal offense.  On Election Day, campaigning or distributing candidate materials within the polling place or in any building in which an election is being held are prohibited.  Campaigning or distributing candidate materials are also prohibited within 100 feet of a polling place, whether on public or private property—Idaho Code 18-2318.  It is also important to remember that the prohibition on electioneering applies while voting is occurring at the in-person absentee polling place or early voting facility.

Question: Our city does not have enough candidates for the council positions up for election.  What should we do?

If there are not enough nominated and declared write-in candidates for the council positions up for election, then the vacancies are filled by mayoral appointment and confirmation by a majority of the council.  This can be done at the first council meeting in January, assuming there are enough councilmembers to constitute a quorum (a majority of the full council).  If not, then the Governor will appoint as many councilmembers as required to constitute a quorum (Idaho Code 59-912) and the remaining vacancies are filled by the normal process of appointment and confirmation.

Question: Can a bar sell liquor by the drink on Election Day?  Can liquor stores be open on Election Day?

Bars can sell liquor by the drink during city elections unless the city has an ordinance prohibiting the sale of liquor by the drink during city elections—Idaho Code 23-927. 

State liquor stores and contract liquor stores are allowed to be open and sell package liquor on Election Day—Idaho Code 23-307.

Question: Who canvasses the votes from a city election: the city council or the county commissioners?

The county commissioners will canvass the results of all city elections within 10 days after the election—Idaho Code 50-412.  At a council meeting in late November or December 2017, the council must approve a motion to formally accept the canvassed election results, and the canvassed election results are then included in the meeting minutes (with the results by precinct, if the city has multiple precincts).

Question: A currently serving councilmember wants to run for mayor at this year’s election.  The councilmember’s position is not up for election until November 2019.  Must the person resign from their council position to run for mayor?

No, the councilmember is not required to resign from the council to run for mayor.

Question: Can a person file more than one Declaration of Candidacy and run for multiple offices at the same election?

No.  Idaho Code 50-410 provides that “A person shall not be permitted to file a declaration of candidacy for more than one (1) office in any city election.”

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
Permalink | Comments (0)
 
Membership Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal