Possible SD Mayor Special Election Dates

If Mayor Filner were to resign on Friday 8/23 with an immediate effective date, then the potential dates for the special election would be on a Tuesday within a 60-90 day window.  [charter] [municipal code] The runoff would be “within 49 days” which is a tight timeframe for finalizing results, preparing runoff ballots and getting out absentees.  (For reference, the statewide legislative election in San Diego’s recent AD 80 special election provided a 70-day period between the primary and runoff.)

Presuming the clerk wants the full 49-days between a free-for-all special election and the two-candidate runoff, the following are potential election dates.

Option Special Election Runoff


October 22 December 10


October 29 December 17


November 5 (UDEL) December 24


November 12 December 31


November 19 January 7

The most sensible date for the Special Election portion would be (C) November 5th when the Uniform District Election Law (UDEL) sets many municipal elections around the state.  However, that would place the runoff on Christmas Eve.  Even moving the runoff date up a week to December 17th could be problematic because you would have a compressed timeline with Thanksgiving vacations starting right as voters are getting their absentee ballots.  This makes Option C very unlikely.

Also because of the runoff date, Option D is out.

Option A seems too tight a deadline for allowing candidate filings, preparing a ballot, and sending absentees out by September 23rd, just a month after the resignation.

Given these options, the best dates would be Option E – November 19th for the Primary and January 7th for the Runoff.

But, there is a big “If.”   The city charter says the resignation date is based not on the day of the announcement, but the “effective date” in the resignation letter.  So, if the Mayor wanted to do the city clerk and voters a favor, he could make that effective date a week or more into the future.   This would allow for the following new potential election dates:

Effective Date Additional Potential Special Election Date Runoff

August 28

November 26 January 14

September 4

December 3 January 21

September 11

December 10 January 28

Moving the Effective Date to August 28th does nothing to benefit the election calendar as we are unlikely to see a Special called for two-days before Thanksgiving.  However, an effective resignation date of September 11th or later would allow for a very good set of primary/runoff dates with December 10th and January 28th.