Following a second opportunity for public comment, the County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors voted unanimously (3-0, Yeager, Wasserman and Simitian, with Cortese absent), to move forward with a Special Primary Election on June 4 to fill the Supervisor vacancy in District 2. The consensus comes following the resignation of Supervisor George Shirakawa, Jr., on March 1.

The second reading of ordinances approved holding a special election (Ordinance No. NS-8.31) on June 4, and set the nomination period (Ordinance No. NS-8.32)to be open for two weeks from Wednesday, March 13 until Wednesday, March 27. If a runoff election becomes necessary, it would take place on July 30.

Interested candidates for District 2 Supervisor must meet the requirement of being a registered District 2 voter for 30 days (on or before February 25, 2013), file a Declaration of Candidacy with a minimum of 20 valid registered District 2 voter signatures, and pay a filing fee of 1% ($1,430.31) of the Board of Supervisor salary. Prospective candidates can retrieve appropriate forms from the Registrar of Voters Office, 1555 Berger Drive, Bldg 2, San Jose.

Initially, the Board considered a number of options, including making an appointment to fill the vacancy. On March 5, during the first vote, the Board opted not to make an appointment because appointing a candidate to fill the position would give him/her an advantage in being elected to the seat for subsequent terms.

“I felt strongly during our first vote on March 5, and I still feel as strongly that holding a Special Election for District 2 Supervisor is the only option,” said President Ken Yeager, County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors. “While the Board could have taken the opportunity to appoint a Supervisor, we have to give the District 2 community a voice in selecting their next representative.”

County Executive Jeffrey V. Smith clarified that the $1 million cost of the special election would not require an additional appropriation because a significant portion is fixed costs such as staff salaries that would be incurred in any event. The Registrar of Voters Office achieved savings during the Presidential Election and will be able to absorb incremental costs such as printing and mailing ballots.

“I’m hoping that the District 2 voter turnout will be exceptional,” said Supervisor Mike Wasserman. “I encourage candidates and supporters of the process to reach out to the community and emphasize the importance of voting in this special election.”