Last Minute Write-In Candidates in Local Missouri Election Oust Incumbents

Sunset Hills, Missouri, held non-partisan municipal elections on April 8. Two-term Mayor William J. Nolan, running for re-election, was the only name on the ballot for Mayor. Also, incumbent Alderman Art Havener was the only name on the ballot for the Fourth Ward race. However, both were defeated by write-in candidates.

The deadline for getting a name on the ballot was January 25. After the deadline had passed, a contentious issue arose over whether to move a commuter parking lot to a location a mile away, and to replace the original parking lot with a store. The incumbents favored the move, so a slate of candidates opposed to the idea filed as write-in candidates. The write-in candidates filed for write-in status on March 22, ahead of the write-in filing deadline of March 28. Two of the write-in candidates were elected. See this story. Sunset Hills has a population of 8,496.

This incident shows why it is bad public policy to put the deadline for filing as a write-in candidate months before the election itself. For example, no one can file as a write-in in Ohio unless they do so 72 days before the election. Thanks to Ken Bush for the link.

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