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City of Ypsilanti

Posted on: November 13, 2020

PUBLIC NOTICE: Memo from the Office of the City Clerk

On June 23, 2020 Mayor Bashert resigned leaving a vacancy in the office of Mayor.  Per Section 2.05 of the City Charter when a vacancy occurs in the office of Mayor, the Mayor Pro-Tem fills the office of Mayor until the next General Election.

2.05. - Vacancies; forfeiture of office; filling of vacancies.

(d) Filling of Vacancies.

(1) Mayor. Vacancies occurring in the office of Mayor shall be filled by the Mayor Pro Tem until the next general election and vacancies occurring in the office of Mayor Pro Tem shall be filled for the balance of the unexpired term of the Mayor Pro Tem by appointment of a Member of the Council. Such appointment shall create a vacancy in the office of Council Member until the next general election.

Ypsilanti, by City Charter has partisan elections. As a result of the timing of the resignation of the Mayor, there was not enough time for the political parties to nominate a candidate to file to run as a partisan candidate.  The City was informed by the State Bureau of Elections and the Washtenaw County Clerk’s Office that holding an Election for Mayor during the November General Election for only Independent candidates would leave Ypsilanti vulnerable to lawsuits that could render the Election for Mayor invalid.  Thus, the Mayor Pro-Tem would fulfill the balance of the Mayor’s four-year term, expiring in November of 2022.   

Mayor Pro-Tem Richardson, prior to the resignation of the Mayor, filed for reelection of her Ward 1 seat.  Section 168.322a of Michigan Compiled Law mandates that a candidate shall not be permitted to withdraw after 4:00 pm three days after the deadline for submission of Nominating Petitions.  As a result, after filling the vacancy of Mayor, Ms. Richardson was unable to withdraw from the Primary Election, and having received the party’s nomination would appear on the ballot for the November 2020 General Election.

The ballot for Ward 1 Council Member for the General Election on November 3rd included three candidates: one partisan, one independent, and one valid write-in.   Per Section 3.10 of the City Charter the candidate that receives the majority vote wins the Election.

3.10. - Canvass of votes.

The Board of Canvassers previously established for elections for City offices shall continue with the structure, powers, and qualification described in the general Election Law of the State for Boards of Canvassers in cities. The Board shall meet on the first Thursday after each City special election and publicly canvass the returns of the election and determine the vote upon all questions together with a declaration of adoption or rejection and shall further determine what persons have been nominated for or elected to office at that primary or special election. The City shall provide that the canvass of primary and general elections be performed by the Washtenaw County Board of Canvassers. No question shall be declared adopted unless there are more yes votes than no votes on the question. The candidate with the greatest number of votes shall be declared elected and tie votes shall be determined in the manner provided by the general Election Laws of the State.

On the November 3rd   election, Ms. Richardson, the democratic candidate for the Ward 1 seat won the election and received 2,333 of the 2,824 of the votes cast (82.12%). However, a person may not hold two City elective offices at the same time.  Ms. Richardson then needed to decide if she would continue as Mayor until 2022 or accept the Ward 1 Councilmember seat until 2024.

During the Organizational Meeting on November 9, 2020, Ms. Richardson announced her decision to continue as Mayor.  This created a vacancy in the Ward 1 Councilmember seat.  Section 2.05(d)(3) of the City Charter prescribes that a vacancy in a Councilmember seat is to be filled by City Council no later than three Regular Council Meetings following the vacancy.

2.05. - Vacancies; forfeiture of office; filling of vacancies.

(d) Filling Vacancies

(3) Council Member. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this Charter to the contrary, vacancies occurring in the office of Council Member for more than ninety (90) days before the next regular City election shall be filled on or before the third regular Council meeting following such vacancy by a majority vote of the remaining Members of the Council, said appointee to hold office until the next City election at which election such vacancy shall be filled for any balance of the original unexpired term. Any vacancies which occur for ninety (90) days or less before the next regular City election shall not be filled.

During the November 10, 2020 Regular City Council Meeting, City Council approved Resolution No. 2020-240A, establishing an application process for Council to fill the Ward 1 vacancy. 

Pursuant to the City Charter the newly appointed Council Member will serve in the Ward 1 Council Member seat until the next City Election, as defined in Section 3.01 of the City Charter. In 2022 an Election will be held to fill the Ward 1 Council Member seat for the balance of the term from 2022 until the general election in 2024.

3.01. - City elections.

(a) General and City Elections. A partisan regular City election shall be held on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November every two years in even numbered years.

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