With less than a week until the filing deadline for the Nov. 6 general election, county elections officials are urging prospective candidates not to wait until the last minute to throw their hat in the ring.
In every election cycle, there are elective posts that go begging. People end up being appointed to local district boards because not enough file for the office, said Ryan Ronco, Placer County's assistant registrar of voters.
The Placer County Elections Office sent out a news release last week reminding the public of filing deadlines. Ronco said he was concerned that fewer people had taken out and filed nomination papers this year compared with past election years.
"I've been working here 18 years," he said, "and the pattern is a little different this election. Incumbents and candidates seemed more interested in the past in getting out on the first day for filing."
As of Wednesday, Placer elections officials said, there were 106 open offices in the county for which no one had yet filed.
The filing period will close at 5 p.m. Friday. The deadline will be extended to Aug. 15 if an incumbent does not file for the office.
In cases where the number of candidates does not exceed the number of open seats on a council or board, those who filed will be declared elected and will not appear on the ballot.
Some people might like the idea of not having to campaign for office, Ronco said, but others who see such a situation shaping up sometimes enter a race because they believe competition is important to the democratic process.
Elections officials in neighboring counties said they had not noticed any lack of interest in offices up for election this year and noted that activity typically picks up the last week before the filing deadline.
"We've got a total of 84 seats (up for election) countywide, and we've got 86 people who have filed," said Bill Schultz, El Dorado County's registrar of voters.
Smaller special districts sometimes have trouble attracting candidates, but overall, he said, the rate of filing shows that county residents are interested in serving in public office.
Tom Stanionis, chief of staff for the Yolo County Elections Office, said it was difficult to compare activity during this year's filing period with that for past elections.
For example, he said, school districts in Woodland, Winters and Esparto have switched from electing trustees at large to electing them by trustee area. That changes the dynamics as candidates seek support among 5,000 to 6,000 residents instead of 30,000, Stanionis said.
Brad Buyse, Sacramento County's campaign services manager, said filing for offices this year seems to be keeping pace with past years.
He said 99 offices countywide are up for election, and as of Friday, 88 candidates had filed papers.
Buyse said he sees good contests shaping up for the Natomas Unified School District board, the Galt City Clerk's Office and mayor of Elk Grove. This is the first time the mayor's post has been on the ballot in Elk Grove. As of last week, at least seven candidates had taken out papers and three had been qualified so far for the ballot.
Voters in the city of Sacramento will elect members of a city charter commission, and Buyse said candidates for the panel must file with the City Clerk's Office by the end of the day Thursday, because the clerk's office is closed Fridays.
He urged all prospective candidates to file as early as possible to avoid last-minute problems that could preclude them from entering a race. There are always people who come in without enough signatures on nominating petitions, or who forget or have mistakes in their candidate statements, Buyse said.
"A lot of procrastination goes on," he said. "To run a successful campaign, you need to be sharp and on top of the game."
LOCAL NOV. 6 ELECTION CANDIDATES
To learn who has taken out papers and filed for area races, see the following websites:
EL DORADO COUNTY: http://elections.co.el-dorado.ca.us/candidate.fwx
PLACER COUNTY: www.placerelections.com/ uploads/documents/can_watch.pdf
YOLO COUNTY: www.yoloelections.org/ election_central/ candidate_filings
CITY OF SACRAMENTO:
SACRAMENTO COUNTY: (List of seats up for election only; list of candidate filings is not yet available).
www.elections.saccounty. net/coswcms/groups/ public/@wcm/@pub/ @vre/documents/webcontent/sac_032027.pdf