File for a council vacancy
Filing For Candidacy
All candidates shall file declarations of candidacy with the County Auditor, not earlier than the fourth Monday of July, nor later than the next succeeding Friday in the year such regular City elections are held (RCW 29.15). A filing fee equal to one percent of the annual salary shall accompany the declaration of candidacy for any office with an annual salary of more than one thousand dollars per annum (RCW 29.18.050). The filing fee for Longview City Council members which accompanies the Declaration of Candidacy form is $48.00. (RCW 29.15.050) State law makes provisions for candidates who lack sufficient assets or income to pay the filing fee.
A primary election is only necessary when more than two candidates have filed for the same position. The primary election shall be conducted in the manner provided by the laws of the State of Washington. Primary elections are held on the third Tuesday of the September preceding the November general election, or on the seventh Tuesday immediately preceding such general election, whichever occurs first (RCW 29.13.070). The two candidates with the highest votes shall advance to the general election provided that no name shall appear on the ballot unless said candidate shall receive at least five percent of the total votes cast for that office.
All cities' general elections shall be held throughout the state on the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November in the odd-numbered years (RCW 29.13.020).
How a vacancy is filled
RCW 35.12.050 provides that the office held by a member of the City Council which becomes vacant is to be filled for the period of time between the occurrence of the vacancy and the next regular municipal election by appointment by a majority of the remaining members of the City Council. If the majority cannot agree upon such an appointment within 90 days after the occurrence of the vacancy, their power to appoint ceases and the County Commissioners are empowered to fill the vacancy.
Generally, the Council opens up a filing period for the vacancy and requests each candidate to complete an application form. The candidates are then interviewed during a public Council meeting. Council may deliberate “to evaluate qualifications of a candidate for appointment to elective office. However, any interview of such candidate and final action appointing a candidate to elective office shall be in a meeting open to the public”. (RCW 42.30.110)
If any elected or appointed Councilmember moves outside the city boundary, then that Councilmember shall thereby forfeit the office of Councilmember and that position shall be deemed vacant.
(Portions of this document are excerpts from the City of Yakima's Thinking about Filing for Council? Facts You Should Know. In addition, information was obtained from the Cowlitz County Auditor's office, the Longview City Attorney and the Longview City Clerk to provide candidates with necessary information specific to a Longview City Council position.)