Tagmunicipal elections

St. Louis holds municipal general election

The nonpartisan general election for St. Louis, Mo., was on April 6. The primary was held on March 2, and the filing deadline to run passed on Jan. 4.

Candidates competed for mayor, board of aldermen, and city comptroller. In the mayoral election, Tishaura Jones defeated Cara Spencer, earning 52% of the vote to Spencer’s 48%. Jones is the first Black woman to be elected mayor of St. Louis.

In the city comptroller election, incumbent Darlene Green won re-election without facing opposition.

In the board of aldermen elections, incumbents ran for 15 out of the 16 seats on the ballot and won re-election to 12 of those seats. The following races did not re-elect an incumbent:

• In Ward 5, challenger James Page defeated incumbent Tammika Hubbard by a margin of 53% to 47%.

• In Ward 12, challenger Bill Stephens defeated incumbent Vicky Grass by a margin of 52% to 48%.

• In Ward 13, challenger Anne Schweitzer defeated incumbent Beth Murphy by a margin of 63% to 37%.

• In Ward 17—the sole race without an incumbent running—the race remained too close to call as of April 7.

Saint Louis is the 57th largest city by population in the U.S. 

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12 candidates file for three city council seats in Lincoln, Nebraska

The filing deadline for candidates interested in running for three at-large seats on the city council in Lincoln, Nebraska, was March 5, 2021. The nonpartisan primary election will be held on April 6, and the general election will be held on May 4. All three seats are for four-year terms.

Twelve candidates—incumbent Roy Christensen, incumbent Sändra Washington, incumbent Bennie Shobe, Mary Hilton, Aurang Zeb, Elina Newman, Joseph Swanson, Maggie Mae Squires, Tom Beckius, Eric Burling, Trevor Reilly, and Peter Kolozsy—will face off in the primary. The top six vote-getters will advance to the general election.

Although city council elections in Lincoln are officially nonpartisan, candidates can file with a party affiliation. Incumbent Christensen has served on the city council since 2013 and identifies with the Republican Party. Incumbent Shobe was elected in 2017 and identifies as a member of the Democratic Party. Incumbent Washington was appointed to the council in 2019 and identifies with the Democratic Party.

In addition to Shobe and Washington, Beckius and Zeb identified with the Democratic Party. In addition to Christensen, Burling and Hilton identified with the Republican Party. Reilly identified as a Libertarian, and Kolozsy, Newman, Squires, and Swanson identified as nonpartisan.

Lincoln is the 71st largest city by population in the United States. Ballotpedia will also be covering the two Lincoln Airport Authority board of directors seats on the ballot in 2021. Incumbents Bob Selig and John Hoppe Jr. did not file for re-election.

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Burlington, Vermont, voters approve a measure March 2 to use ranked-choice voting for city council elections

Voters in Burlington, Vermont, approved Question 4 on March 2, 64% to 36%. Question 4 will implement ranked-choice voting (RCV) for city council elections beginning in March 2022. As a charter amendment, the measure must now be approved by the Vermont General Assembly and signed by the governor to be enacted.

The vote was the first time the city voters considered RCV after repealing it in 2010. In 2005, Burlington voters amended the city’s charter to implement RCV—referred to as instant runoff voting—for mayoral elections. The 2005 measure was approved, 64% to 36%. Ranked-choice voting was used in the 2006 and 2009 mayoral elections.

On March 2, 2010, voters repealed ranked-choice voting by a vote of 52% to 48%. The measure to repeal ranked-choice voting was placed on the ballot through a ballot initiative petition drive after the city’s 2009 mayoral election.

The Burlington City Council attempted to place a ranked-choice voting measure on the November 2020 ballot, but it was vetoed by Mayor Miro Weinberger (D) after it passed the city council, 6 to 5. It would have implemented RCV for city council, mayoral, and school commissioner elections. The council amended the measure to only include city council elections and reconsidered it for the March 2021 ballot. The city council approved it on September 22, 2020. Mayor Weinberger signed the measure on October 3, 2020. 

The Yes on 4: Better Ballot Burlington campaign was co-chaired by former Governor Howard Dean (D) and City Councilmember Zoraya Hightower (Vermont Progressive Party). Hightower said, “I believe [RCV] helps elect leaders that are more representative of our city and cities across the country.”

Mayor Weinberger opposed the amended measure, saying, “[Prior use of ranked-choice voting] led to campaigns being very hesitant to define differences and distinctions between themselves on substance because of concerns of alienating second and third votes from other candidates. I was a campaign chair of a mayoral election during that period. I just don’t think it worked well.”

A ranked-choice voting system (RCV) is an electoral system in which voters rank candidates by preference on their ballots. If a candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, he or she is declared the winner. If no candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, the candidate with the fewest first-preference votes is eliminated. First-preference votes cast for the failed candidate are eliminated, lifting the second-preference choices indicated on those ballots. A new tally is conducted to determine whether any candidate has won a majority of the adjusted votes. The process is repeated until a candidate wins an outright majority.

As of 2021, one state (Maine) had implemented RCV at the state level, one state (Alaska) had adopted but not implemented RCV, eight states contained jurisdictions that had implemented RCV at some level, and another five states contained jurisdictions—including New York City—that had adopted but not yet implemented RCV in local elections.

Filing period to close Feb. 3 for municipal elections in two Ohio cities

The candidate filing deadline to run for elected office in Columbus and Cleveland, Ohio, is on February 3, 2021. Prospective candidates in Columbus may file for the following municipal and school district offices:

  • City attorney
  • City auditor
  • City council (3 seats)
  • Columbus City Schools Board of Education (3 seats)

In Cleveland, prospective candidates may file for the following municipal offices:

  • Mayor
  • City council (17 seats)
  • Municipal court judge

The primary elections are scheduled for May 4, and the general elections are scheduled for November 2.

Columbus and Cleveland are the first- and second-largest cities in Ohio, respectively. Columbus is the 16th-largest city in the United States by population, and Cleveland is the 48th-largest. The Columbus City Schools district is the largest school district in Ohio; it served 50,219 students as of the 2017-2018 school year.

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Candidate filing deadline in Dane County, Wisconsin, is Jan. 5, 2021

The filing deadline to run for elected office in Dane County, Wisconsin, is on January 5, 2021. Prospective candidates may file for county executive, two of the 37 county supervisor seats, and seven circuit court judgeships. The offices of county executive and circuit court judges are up for regular election in 2021, but the county supervisor seats for District 4 and District 12 are up for special election due to vacancies on the board.

The primary is scheduled for February 16, and the general election is scheduled for April 6, 2021.

Dane County in Wisconsin had a population of 531,273 in 2013, according to the United States Census Bureau. 

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Kevin Lincoln defeats incumbent Michael Tubbs in Stockton mayoral race

The general election for Stockton, California, was held on November 3, 2020. The primary election was held on March 3, 2020, and the filing deadline to run passed on December 6, 2019.

In the mayoral race, Kevin Lincoln (R) defeated incumbent Michael Tubbs (D). As of November 19, Lincoln had earned 56.2% of the vote to Tubbs’s 43.9%. Mayoral elections in Stockton are nonpartisan, meaning that candidates’ party affiliations do not appear on the ballot.

Three seats on the seven-seat city council were up for nonpartisan election in 2020. The District 6 seat was on the ballot on November 3. As of November 19, Kimberly Warmsley led Gloria Allen with 70.1% of the vote to Allen’s 29.9%.

During the March 3 primary, incumbent Daniel Wright won the District 2 seat outright by earning more than 50% of the vote. In District 4, incumbent Susan Lenz was unopposed. 

Stockton is the 13th-largest city in California and the 63rd-largest city in the U.S. by population. 

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Ballotpedia to cover 2,449 local seats on November 3

Image of several stickers with the words "I voted"

There are 2,336 local seats on the ballot this November in America’s 100 largest cities based on population, the 200 largest school districts based on student enrollment, and Washington, D.C. Ballotpedia is also covering a cumulative 113 seats in Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Puerto Rico. Incumbents are on the ballot for 1,869 seats out of the total 2,449 seats Ballotpedia is covering. Mayoral offices account for 118 seats. With 98 incumbent mayors in November 3 races, 20 mayorships will be won by non-incumbents. 

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Signatures submitted for recall effort in Avon, Colorado

An effort in Avon, Colorado, to recall Mayor Sarah Smith Hymes and Councilmembers Amy Phillips and Tamra Underwood was initiated in August 2020. Recall organizers had until October 12 to submit 496 valid signatures for each official. There were about 600 signatures submitted against Hymes and Underwood on the day of the deadline. On October 19, Avon Town Clerk Brenda Torres announced that not enough valid signatures had been submitted. Torres found 425 signatures valid in the recall effort against Underwood. There were 445 signatures validated against Hymes. Recall organizers have until November 3 to challenge Torres’ decision.

The recall against Phillips was found invalid because she is up for re-election on November 3.

The recall effort was initiated in response to the Avon Town Council deciding to leave in place a 2% real estate transfer tax, which collects $2.5 million annually. In a press release sent to Vail Daily, the recall committee organizing the effort said that the tax “puts Avon property sellers at a huge disadvantage when compared to our neighboring communities.”

In response to the recall effort, Hymes said, “Two of the people involved in this recall ran for election last time. They could have run candidates in the 2020 election, but they didn’t think they could succeed, so they’re choosing this backdoor way. They are wasting an enormous amount of town resources in pursuit of this.”

Underwood said about the recall effort, “I essentially find it nothing but an intimidation and bullying tool to discourage people from running for council in Avon, in particular female people running for council in Avon.”

In 2019, Ballotpedia covered a total of 151 recall efforts against 230 elected officials. Of the 66 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 34 were recalled for a rate of 52%. That was lower than the 63% rate and 57% rate for 2018 and 2017 recalls, respectively.

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Both candidates in Los Angeles’ District Attorney election complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection Survey

Incumbent Jackie Lacey and George Gascón are running in the nonpartisan general election for Los Angeles District Attorney. Both candidates completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection Survey. Ballotpedia asks all federal, state, and local candidates to complete a survey so voters can discover what motivates them on political and personal levels.

When asked what areas of public policy they were most passionate about, the candidates’ responses included:

Lacey: “The single biggest issue facing our criminal justice system and our County is how we deal with people suffering from mental illness within the court system. […] I founded and lead the pioneering Criminal Justice Mental Health Project in LA County, which has set priorities for a comprehensive mental health diversion plan that provides alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent offenders.”

Gascón: “I am committed to ending mass incarceration. […] While serving as District Attorney of San Francisco, I worked tirelessly to reduce jail and prison populations, and tackle bias by keeping demographic information about suspects from prosecutors as they decide whether to bring charges.”

We asked the candidates, “What was your very first job? How long did you have it?”

Lacey: “My first job was as a sales clerk at a local Sears. I worked there for two years as a minimum wage employee. The experience was grueling at times, to say the least! I continued to work jobs like this in order to help get me through college and eventually law school.”

Gascón: “In high school, I worked 20 hours a week as a “box boy” at a local supermarket. Though only 14 at the time, I pretend to be 16 to satisfy the minimum age requirement. As it was a union job, I actually made more than my parents did, allowing me to help support my family.”

In 2018, 1,957 candidates completed a Candidate Connection survey. This number represents 6.9% of all 28,315 candidates Ballotpedia covered during that cycle. Out of the 1,957 respondents, 477 (24.4%) won their elections.

To read the candidates’ responses and learn more about the race, click here: 

District Attorney election in Los Angeles County, California (2020)

To read more about Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey or if you are a candidate who would like to submit a survey, click here:

Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection

John Mina wins Democratic nomination for a full term as Orange County Sheriff

Orange County, Florida, Sheriff John Mina (D) defeated four challengers to win the Democratic nomination for his first full term in an August 18 primary. As of 8:00 p.m. on election night, Mina had received 44.4% of the vote, followed by Andrew Darling with 19.2% and Jose Lopez with 15.7%.

Mina, a former Orlando chief of police, was first elected in 2018 to complete the remainder of Jerry Demings’ (D) term as sheriff after Demings won election as mayor of Orange County. He says during his first two years in office, crime rates fell and officers recorded fewer instances of use of force.

Mina faces independent write-in candidates Tim Lucas Adams and Winston Johnson in the November general election. No Republican candidate filed for the office.