Arroyo Files Council Order to Waive Special Election

City Councilor Ricardo Arroyo has filed a Home Rule Petition before the City Council to waive any Special Mayoral Election that would be triggered if Mayor Martin Walsh were confirmed as the new U.S. Secretary of Labor and would leave before March 6.

The City Charter indicates that a Special Election would occur sometime in June if Walsh were to leave before the cutoff date of March 6, which most expect will certainly happen. The Charter indicates that if there is a vacancy in the mayoral seat within 16 months of the last Municipal Election, a Special Election must take place. With the current timeline in Washington, D.C., in overdrive, it is highly likely that Special Election mandate would be triggered.

That has been a gift from Heaven to many considering a run in the Special Election, particularly for those already in office, as they could run without having to give up their existing seats in state or City government. For already announced mayoral candidates Michelle Wu and Andrea Campbell, the Special Election plays well for them in that they have a significant head start on campaigning and fundraising.

However, Arroyo said he believes a Special Election would be too dangerous and could suppress the vote of minority communities in Boston.

“Holding an unnecessary and redundant Special Election for the position of Mayor of Boston would endanger the health of Boston residents during a deadly pandemic, exacerbate an already uncertain financial future for the City, and contribute to existing inequities often seen in special elections that contribute to the disenfranchisement of immigrant, low-income, disabled, Black, and Latinx communities,” he said.

The order was on the Council Agenda for Jan. 13, and the results of that came after newspaper deadlines.

Councilor Lydia Edwards said the matter would go to her Committee, and she would act quickly.

Edwards said she wouldn’t comment on anything that she hasn’t read or will be before her Committee, but she does plan to have a hearing sooner rather than later on the matter.

Such a call has a steep hill to climb to become reality.

With so many on the Council anticipating a Special Election run, it would be a difficult task to get it out of the Council in the first place. Were it to pass the Council, it would have to go to the State Legislature as a Home Rule Petition to be approved by the full body.

That would also be a large task, as many in the Boston delegation, including State Rep. Aaron Michlewitz (North End), State Rep. Jon Santiago (South End) and State Sen. Nick Collins (South Boston), are seriously considering a run. The likelihood of them voting against their best interests, said those close to the issue, would be unlikely. The Special Election date would depend on when, or if, Walsh is confirmed by the U.S. Senate and leaves his mayoral seat. Most estimate the date of a Special Election would figure to be in June.

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