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Senate Bill 1306 — Uncontested city elections

Senate Bill 1306 — Uncontested city elections

Lindsay Atkinson
February 10, 2020

Bill description: SB 1306 would establish that a city does not need to hold an election for a position for which there is only one candidate.

Rating: +1

Does it increase government spending (for objectionable purposes) or debt? Conversely, does it decrease government spending or debt?

Under Idaho law, there are currently two routes to become a candidate for a city election. Interested residents for positions like mayor or city councilor can either file for candidacy or file as a write-in candidate. 

If a resident files for candidacy, they have to do so by no “later than 5:00 p.m. on the ninth Friday, immediately preceding election day.” Write-in candidates have to declare their intent to be write-ins no “later than twenty-eight (28) days before the day of election.”

Sometimes, a candidate will run unopposed. This can occur in one of two circumstances:

  • There is only one candidate for a position, with no write-in candidate
  • There are no candidates for a position, and only one write-in candidate

SB 1306 would allow a city with an unopposed candidate or write-in at the time of the final write-in deadline to “declare such candidate elected” without holding an election. It would also ensure that cities that do not have assigned city council seats can declare candidates elected if the total combination of candidates and write-ins “is equal to or fewer than the number of council positions up for election.” Thus the city would avoid the cost of running an election where there is only one option for voters. 


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