SPECIAL ELECTIONS

 
 
Election Commission Page Header
 
     
  Special Elections  
 

Non-scheduled elections called special elections are held throughout the year to fill vacancies created by death, resignation or removal from office.

Filing for these countywide and less-than-countywide seats opens at noon, the third Friday after the vacancy occurs. Filing closes ten days later at noon. Filing deadlines for municipal offices may vary.

For partisan elections, a primary is held on the 11th Tuesday after the vacancy occurs. A runoff, if necessary, is held on the 13th Tuesday after the vacancy occurs. The special election is held on the 18th Tuesday after the vacancy occurs.

For non-partisan elections, the special election is held on the 13th Tuesday after the vacancy occurs. Filing opens at noon the third Friday after the vacancy occurs and closes ten days later at noon.

A special election to fill a vacancy in a non-partisan office is not required to be conducted if fourteen calendar days have elapsed since the filing period for that office has closed and:

  1. only one person has filed for the office; and
  2. no person has filed a declaration to be a write-in candidate with the authority charged by law with conducting the election.

Partisan elections may have to wait until time for filing petitions has passed.

In such an event, the candidate who filed for the office is deemed elected and shall take office on the Monday following certification. These provisions may also apply to municipal general elections.

When no person has filed a declaration to be a write-in candidate pursuant to this section, the candidate who filed for the office must be declared the winner by the authority charged by law with conducting the election, and the votes for the election must not be counted or otherwise tabulated. Nothing in this section requires a ballot containing the name of a person who has been declared the winner pursuant to this section to be reprinted to delete the winning candidate's name or candidates' names from the ballot.

The offices listed below may apply. If there is a vacancy in one of these offices, an election may not have to be held.

  • all municipal offices - special elections and general elections
  • countywide offices - special election only
  • less-than countywide offices - special election only
  • school board - special election only

For municipalities: If a municipality has an upcoming non-partisan election for one seat and only one candidate files and no one files as a write-in candidate within the 14 calendar day period after filing closes, no election will be necessary. Partisan elections may have to wait until time for filing petitions has passed.

This law would also seem to apply to those municipalities with multiple seats and the same number of candidates filing as number of seats. For example - a municipality has three city council seats that are elected citywide (no districts). If three candidates file and no one files as a write-in during the appropriate time, no election would need to be held.

Another example - if a municipality has three city council seats that are elected by district. If only one candidate files for each district seat and no one files as a write-in for any seat during the appropriate time, no election would need to be held. If one write-in files for a particular district seat, that election would have to be held, while the other two district elections would not have to be held.

If no election needs to be held, the appropriate election commission would still meet to certify any filed candidate as the winner.

The State Election Commission suggests consulting with a county or city legal department prior to canceling an election using this information.