Special election in May canceled, rescheduled for August

The Bemidji City Council canceled the election set for May 12.

The special election was supposed to fill the vacancy of the Ward 2 seat left by Mike Beard’s resignation earlier this year.

The city made an error when publishing notice for the filing period; there were only three days of notice before the filing period opened, when there were supposed to be fourteen days of notice.

The state also recently changed election laws, which mandate special elections can only be held in certain months of the year. 

Special elections are allowed in February and May, or they can be combined with the other elections such as the state’s primary in August or the general election in November.

Michelle Miller, the city’s clerk, said there were many variables that would have made this special election in May difficult to accomplish.

Nate Mathews, the city’s manager, said the city’s charter commission should meet as soon as possible to clarify what the charter says about city elections so they are compatible with state election laws.

The filing period for the Ward 2 seat will now happen at the same time as the filing period for other city council positions that are up this year in May, with the special election happening on the same day as the state’s primary in August.

If no one wins with more than 50 percent of the vote, a secondary election will happen in the general election in November.

This change will save the city some money, as it happens to be at the same time as other elections.

Miller stated that money was not the motivator in the decision. 

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