116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
NORTH LIBERTY — North Liberty will hold a special election to fill a vacancy on its City Council.
Council members decided last week to fill the vacancy with a special election March 15 instead of by making an appointment. The vacancy was created when Chris Hoffman became mayor and resigned from his council seat at the start of January.
The person elected will serve the term through the end of 2023.
The council voted 3-1 in favor of the special election, with member Brent Smith voting against. As mayor, Hoffman doesn’t get a vote but did voice his recommendation for a special election.
Hoffman, who served on the council for 14 years before being elected mayor, said in his experience he’s found the public prefers to have a special election.
“The election allows for the voters to make that decision, and it’s a process by which it can’t be overridden,” Hoffman said.
If the council went the route of filling the vacancy by appointment, a resident could gather signatures on a petition requesting a special election. If the special election were held, an appointment would then become temporary.
Council member Brian Wayson said he was in favor of a special election. Wayson and Hoffman both brought up how the election guarantees a full council for a planning session in March.
Smith, who voted against the special election, said he was in favor of an appointment after getting feedback from residents.
Council members RaQuishia Harrington and Erek Sittig both indicated they went back and forth on the decision. Harrington said the feedback she received from residents was to fill by appointment since the council race last November was uncontested. Two candidates — Wayson and Sittig — were on the ballot for two open seats. But Harrington and Sittig both did end up voting in favor of holding a special election.
Special election details
Candidates must be at least 18 years old and live within the limits of North Liberty. They must file by 5 p.m. Feb. 18 at the Johnson County Auditor’s Office, 913 S. Dubuque St. in Iowa City. A total of 19 valid signatures is required.
A vote center will be used for the election instead of regular polling places. All residents will vote at the North Liberty Community Center, 520 W. Cherry St., on March 15. The center will be open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the day of the special election.
Early voting also will be available. Residents can now send in their absentee ballot request forms, with Feb. 23 being the first day absentee ballots can be mailed.
Feb. 23 is also the first day early in-person voting is allowed. The last day for in-person early voting is March 14.
Mailed absentee ballots must arrive at the Auditor’s Office before 8 p.m. on the special Election Day.
The estimated cost of the election is $5,000, according to the city. The estimate is lower than what was previous estimated — $10,000 to $15,000 — due to there being one voting center instead of using all precincts.
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