If you have signed nomination papers for a Boston City Council or Mayoral candidate in the past, you may remember that signing more than one candidates nomination papers is prohibited. That restriction may be loosened now that Mayor Walsh’s home-rule petition on the issue was passed by the Boston City Council this week.
“The home-rule petition would allow registered voters to sign as many candidates’ papers as they wish, rather than limit them to one valid signature for candidates for Mayor and District City Councilor and up to four candidates for City Council At-Large,” said City Council President Michelle Wu in her weekly newsletter.
Councilor Annissa Essaibi George opposed the ordinance, citing the large number of candidates that successfully collected enough signatures to make the ballot in 2013 as evidence that the current system is not too burdensome, and stating that having some requirements for potential candidates is a good thing.
An Act Relative to Election Nomination Petitions in the City of Boston would remove the limitation concerning the amount of nomination papers that a registered voter is allowed to sign. Currently, a voter may only sign one nomination petition for the office of mayor or district city councilor and no more than four nomination petitions for the office of city councilor-at-large. Candidates for mayor require the signatures of at least 3,000 registered voters, candidates for city councilor-at-large require at least 1,500 and candidates for district city councilor requires around 200 as set out in the City of Boston code.
Dion Irish, Commissioner of the Elections Department, explained that the proposal would increase access to the ballot, participation in the election process, and would bring the City of Boston in line with other municipalities. This will make the election process more inclusive by reducing barriers to those seeking elected office and providing voters with a broader opportunity to support candidates during the nomination process.
The next step in the process will be for the Mayor and the state legislature to approve the petition for it to take effect.
2017 City Council Election Update
In the upcoming 2017 races for Boston City Council, District 1 (North End, Charlestown, East Boston) Councilor Sal LaMattina appears to be running unopposed.
Longtime District 2 Councilor Bill Linehan is not seeking re-election. District 2 includes much of Downtown (including the waterfront south of Christopher Columbus Park), South Boston, Chinatown and the South End. A couple of candidates have emerged for the District 2 seat, according to Universal Hub.
The at-large race also appears to be non-competitive at this point with no new candidates announcing. Incumbents seeking re-election for the four at-large seats include Councilors Michelle Wu, Ayanna Pressley, Michael Flaherty and Annissa Essaibi George.