Bedrock of Election Management

As I said in my recent MLK posting, I’m starting a series of blogs that should provide a concrete example of election management, at a small scale and (I hope) with some interest value.  But before I tell a story of election management, we need to first have a story of an election, and this particular election starts with a candidate.

So, let me tell you a little story about a man named Jed — oops, sorry, a man named Fred*.  Fred lives in the Town of Bedrock, and just heard that the famous mayor, Flint Eastrock, has just resigned, in order to start a new film project. Fred decides to run for mayor in the Special Mayoral Election, because he’s ready for the big time, having served on the Quarry Commission for some years. Like modern-day U.S., Bedrockites prefer to elect as many government positions as possible; rather than trusting the Mayor or Bedrock City Council to appoint Quarry Commissioners, the 5 commissioners are elected. So, in the special election, Fred’s open seat on the Commission will also be up for election.

Lastly, as Fred’s last act as Commissioner before resigning to run for mayor, Fred proposes a new referendum about the Quarry: a question for the voters to approve or reject a new usage fee for quarrying — some needed additional revenue for the quarry upgrade that he hopes to be the centerpiece of his tenure as mayor.

So, there we have an election coming up, with three ballot items:

  • An open seat for mayor, which Fred wants to run for;
  • An open seat on the Quarry Commissioner, from which Fred has resigned;
  • A referendum on the new quarry usage fee.

That’s almost enough for getting started on our Bedrock election story, but we’ve also seen a bit of Bedrock election law and election administration in action:

  • When a the office of Mayor is vacant, it is filled by special election, not appointment or remaining vacant until the next regular election.
  • The Bedrock Board of Election (BBoE) called a special election.
  • If a current local office-holder wants to run for a vacant office, he or she must resign from the office they already hold.
  • If there is a local referendum pending for the next election, and a special election is called, then the referendum is held during the special election.

Next time, Fred applies to be a candidate for mayor, and gets an earful about how the BBoE works in practice. Fred knows, as I do, that there is always more to learn in election-land!


* My thanks and apologies for David Pogue on this one.

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