(Obsolete City Election Provisions)
Shall the Seattle City Charter be amended to delete obsolete references to processes for conducting City elections, which processes are now governed by State law; and shall Article IV, Section 2, Subdivision A and Article XVIII, Sections 1 and 2 of said charter be amended accordingly?
The Charter as it Exists Now
Articles 4 and 18 of the Charter include specific provisions concerning the processes for conducting City elections. Because state law now governs these processes, however, many of the Charter provisions are now obsolete. Charter provisions concerning elections include the following:
Subdivision A of Section 2 contains provisions concerning the dates of general elections and the terms of City Council members. It includes specific language concerning the initial general elections held after the adoption of the 1946 Charter.
(1) Section 1 contains provisions concerning the dates of general elections and the terms of those elected. It includes specific language concerning the initial elections held after the adoption of the 1946 Charter. This section also states that special elections are to be held "at such times and for such purposes, as the City Council may, by ordinance, prescribe, subject to law."
(2) Subdivision A of Section 1 contains detailed provisions concerning nominations for municipal elective offices. Included are provisions governing: (a) the time for primary elections; (b) the format and contents of primary ballots; (c) declarations of candidacy for office, including the form and contents of those declarations, their filing and the accompanying fee, and a requirement that all such declarations be preserved for three years; (d) the procedures for withdrawal from candidacy; and (e) certification by the City Comptroller of a list of candidates whose names are entitled to appear on the ballot, together with a list of offices to be filled. The final paragraph of Subdivision A of Section 1 states that "[a]ll the provisions of this Charter and of the state law relating to the holding of municipal elections shall apply [to City elections]."
(3) Section 2 specifies that a certificate of election "shall be prima facie evidence of the facts" stated in that certificate, but adds that "the City Council shall decide all questions as to the qualification and election of its own members, and in all cases of contested election for any office the contest shall be decided by the City Council according as nearly may be, to the laws of the state regulating proceedings in cases of contested elections for county officers."
The Effect of the Proposition if Adopted
The Charter would be amended to delete obsolete references to processes for conducting City elections, now governed by state law. The amendments would be as follows:
Subdivision A of Section 2, containing provisions concerning the dates of general elections and the staggered terms of the original City Council members, would be deleted.
(1) In Section 1, specific provisions concerning the dates of general elections and the terms of those elected would be deleted. The section would be amended to read: "General municipal elections and special elections shall be held at such times, and for such purposes, as the City Council may, by ordinance, prescribe, subject to state law."
(2) Subdivision A of Section 1, which contains detailed provisions concerning nominations for municipal elective offices, would be deleted.
(3) The present Section 2, concerning certificates of election and decisions relating to contested elections, would be deleted. A new Section 2 would be added. The new section would state: "All municipal elective offices under this Charter shall be nonpartisan." The new Section 2 would replace comparable language now contained in Subdivision A of Section 1.