State of Elections

William & Mary Law School | Election Law Society

Tag: Mayor

Nine Districts: How Richmond came to possess one of America’s strangest rules for electing a Mayor


By: Venugopal Katta

On November 8th, 2016, voters in Richmond, Virginia – like hundreds of millions of Americans – headed to the polls. In addition to deciding between Presidential and Congressional candidates, Richmond voters elected former Secretary of the Commonwealth Levar Stoney to replace term-limited incumbent Dwight Jones. The process by which they did so, however, was a unique reflection of rules set up in the shadow of the city’s troubled history of racism, corruption, and legal jeopardy.

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New Orleans Mayoral Race Post-Katrina

This year marks the 4th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. As the city of New Orleans moves towards recovery, it must start thinking about electing a new mayor. Actorruled himself out as a likely candidate, citing his controversial platform to legalize gay marriage and marijuana, and incumbent mayor Ray Nagin of “Chocolate City” fame is ineligible to participate due to term limits. Finding a field of eligible candidates may be difficult due to a protectionist provision in the City Charter which states:

“The Mayor shall be a citizen of the United States and a qualified elector of the City, and shall have been domiciled in the City for at least five years immediately preceding the election.”— New Orleans Home Rule Charter, Section 4-202.

Residents were not allowed to return home for over a month following Nagin’s mandatory evacuation order, and whether evacuees experienced a change in domicile during that mandatory evacuation may be an question in the upcoming April 2010 election. The issue is whether individuals can meet the length of residency requirement due to their voluntary displacement. Continue reading

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