SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF.,-- Today, the County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors voted unanimously (4-0) to approve Ordinance No. NS-8.31, to hold a Special Primary Election on June 4 to fill the Supervisor vacancy in District 2. The consensus comes following the resignation of Supervisor George Shirakawa, Jr., on Friday. The approval of the Ordinance is preliminary. A second reading of the Ordinance is scheduled for the March 12 Board meeting, which will give the community another opportunity to provide comment.
“Holding a special election is the best solution to provide stability for District 2,” said President Ken Yeager, County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors. “In the interim, the President’s office with the support from the other Board offices will be available to assist District 2 residents.”
The Board considered a number of options, including making an appointment to fill the vacancy. The Board opted not to make an appointment because appointing a candidate to fill the position would give him/her an advantage in being elected to the seat for subsequent terms.
“If we were to appoint someone, he or she might be in the seat for 12 years,” said District 5 Supervisor Joe Simitian. “It’s important for the District 2 voters to make that decision.”
At the Board’s request, County staff researched the possibility of holding an all mail ballot election. The County’s charter does not permit such an election under these circumstances. The cost of the June 4 Special Election is expected to be approximately $1 million.
“We need to hear from voters,” said District 1 Supervisor Mike Wasserman. “The cost of an election pales greatly in comparison to the high cost of denying a voice to the residents of the district. We need to hear from them.”
The Board weighed the pros and cons of extending the date for the election to the last possible Tuesday under the law, June 25.
“District 2 has a large constituency,” said Supervisor Dave Cortese, advocating for the June 4 Special Election. “It’s important for the district to have an elected representative participating in policy decisions as soon as possible.”
On Tuesday, March 12, the community will have the opportunity to weigh in and offer their opinions and recommendations on the plan to hold the election on June 4. Assuming the second reading passes on March 12, the nomination period would be open for two weeks from March 13 until March 27. If a runoff election becomes necessary, it would take place on July 30.
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