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Oakland Voters Choose Special Elections to Fill Mayoral Vacancies

March 5, 2002

Oakland voters today passed a charter amendment that requires the use of special elections rather than appointments to fill all vacancies of at least 1 year for mayor.  As with the charter amendment that specified the use of special elections to fill vacancies on city council, this charter amendment authorizes the city council to provide by ordinance for the use of instant runoff voting.  This means that in Oakland, special elections will be used for all lengthy vacancies for city council and mayor.  Council vacancies will use plurality or instant runoff elections; mayoral vacancies will use runoff or instant runoff elections.

Below you will find the election results and the actual text of the charter amendment.


Total Precincts:

Precincts Reported:

Percent Reported:


# of Votes

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Source:  Alameda County Registrar of Voters

Text of Measure H Charter Amendment

“Section 303.  Vacancy, Filling of.  Upon the declaration of vacancy in the office of the Mayor, the office of the Mayor shall be filled by the Vice-Mayor of the Council.  Except as otherwise provided in this Section, when the Vice-Mayor of the Council assumes the office of Mayor upon declaration of a vacancy, she/he shall serve for the unexpired term if such term is less than one year; otherwise she/he shall serve until the vacancy is filled as provided herein.  Whenever the period of vacancy in a Mayor’s terms of office is less than one year and the Vice Mayor notifies the Council in writing that she/he does not wish to serve as Mayor for the unexpired term, the vacancy shall be filled by appointment through a majority vote of the remaining Councilmembers; provided the appointee shall be ineligible to be a candidate for the next full term of the Office of Mayor.  If at the time of a vacancy declaration the unexpired term is one year or more, the vacancy occurring in the office of Mayor shall be filled by special election within 120 days of such vacancy.  An extension of up to 60 days may be allowed for the express purpose of consolidating the special election with the next Municipal Election.  If no candidates receives the majority of the votes cast in the special election, then a run-off election shall be held for the two candidates who received the highest number of votes no later than 60 days after the date of the special election; provided that all persons receiving a number of votes equal to the highest number of votes received by any candidate shall also be candidates at such run-off election.  The candidate receiving the highest number of votes cast for all candidates for the office at the run-off election shall be declared elected.  The Candidate elected to fill the vacancy shall hold office for the balance of the unexpired term.  Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section or the Charter, the Council shall have the authority to provide by ordinance for preferential voting procedures as an alternative to a run-off election.  Alternative legal voting procedures shall be used to the greatest extent feasible to increase voter participation in special elections including but not limited to mail ballot voting, electronic voting, and extended voting period.”

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