Ward 2 Special Election canceled

The City of Bemidji will have to cancel the special election set for May.

According to a notice from City Manager Nate Mathews, the opening of the Ward 2 filing for office period was not published two weeks ahead of time in the legal newspaper, the Bemidji Pioneer, as state law requires.

Instead, only three days of notice was given to potential candidates.

The vacancy was declared on Feb. 3, after Mike Beard posted his immediate resignation due to health concerns.

The filing period opened Feb. 10, and the first of three published notices happened on Feb. 8.

Mathews says the city, in good faith, attempted to reconcile the new state election laws with current city charter language, the city wanted to move as quickly as possible to fill the Ward 2 seat and the lack of notice was an oversight.

The special election for Ward 2 will likely need to occur in August.

The matter will likely be discussed during Monday’s City Council meeting, and a new filing period will likely be announced soon.

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