City of Marshfield Mayoral Election Process
The City of Marshfield mayor serves a 2-year term, and next spring Mayor Chris Meyer will finish his 5th term in that role, having been first elected on April 1, 2008. As 2014 was the last time the City of Marshfield had a contested Mayoral race, and with Meyer not seeking re-election this spring, upcoming local elections are expected to be a bit more exciting.
For those looking to enter the mayoral race this spring, FOCUS sat down with City Clerk Deb Hall to get the details on what paperwork is needed, how the process works, and what deadlines of which to be aware.
The City of Marshfield is organized and governed under chapter 62 Wis. Stats., known as the mayor-alderperson plan.
According to the City of Marshfield Municipal Code:
1. The mayor shall be the chief executive officer. He shall see that city ordinances and state laws are observed and enforced and that all city officers and employees discharge their duties.
2. The mayor shall, from time to time, give the council such information and recommend such measures as he may deem advantageous to the city.
Deadline for candidates to file nomination papers, declarations of candidacy, and campaign registrations statements for the 2018 Spring Election with the City Clerk is January 2, 2018. (If, however, Meyer had NOT filed his non-candidacy papers, then the deadline would have extended to January 5, 2018 at 5:00pm for that office only.)
“A lot of people will not run against an incumbent,” explained Hall. “When somebody knows there is an open seat, they will tend to throw their hat in the ring.”
Those interested in running for Mayor need to visit the City Clerk (5th floor, City Hall, 630 S Central Ave) to fill out paperwork. Initial paperwork includes a Campaign Registration Statement and a Declaration of Candidacy.
After those are completed and returned to the Clerk, the Clerk will provide nomination papers. These must be circulated and returned to the Clerk no later than 5:00pm on January 2 (or January 5, if the incumbent doesn’t file). Papers can be circulated beginning on December 1, 2017.
To become a candidate for Mayor, a person must collect between 200-400 signatures from City of Marshfield residents.
“I always recommend that they get more than the minimum, because if someone who signs does not live in the City, they get crossed off. If you end up below the minimum, you will not qualify to be a candidate,” explained Hall, who is responsible for certifying all signatures. “Additionally, if someone signs twice, on two different candidates’ forms, the first signature counts, but any duplications do not.”
After the signatures are turned in (before the January deadline), the person will be on the ballot. If more than two people are running for a particular office, there will be a primary on February 20, 2018. Then, the winning two candidates from the primary will be on the ballot for the April 3 election. If there are two or fewer candidates for a position, there will not be a primary for that position.
Whomever is elected Mayor wiill be instated at a special Council Organizational Meeting on the third Tuesday in April. Mayors (and alderpersons) have no term limits.
OTHER LOCAL ELECTIONS: Odd-numbered Aldermanic Districts (1,3,5,7,9) are also up for re-election this spring. The same deadlines and rules apply for this position, with 20-40 signatures of their same-district residents only required.
Hall is happy to help answer any questions or provide more information about running or the responsibilities of the office, campaign laws, signage, and fundraising laws. Simply contact her office at (715) 486-2023.
“I’m happy to sit down and talk to anybody that has interest in running,” she said. “There are things those elected will need to know, such as open meetings law and parliamentary procedures. It is a learning experience and we try to help people as much as possible.”
Hall does not expect a significant voter turnout, as historically numbers are lower when there is no Presidential primary. So far, she has had a few calls of interest, but only one person has taken out papers for Mayor (as of November 26). (They can begin circulating those papers on December 1.)