§ 24.2-222.1 Alternative election of mayor and council at November general election in cities and towns
Overview of Statute
The council of a city or town, or the registered voters of a city or town by petition, may provide by ordinance that the mayor and council be elected at the November general election for terms beginning on January 1. This statute applies retroactively effective beginning on July 1, 2000.
A. Notwithstanding the provisions of § 24.2-222, and notwithstanding any contrary provisions of a city or town charter, the council of a city or town may provide by ordinance that the mayor, if an elected mayor is provided for by charter, and council shall be elected at the November general election date of any cycle as designated in the ordinance, for terms to commence January 1. No such ordinance shall be adopted between January 1 and the May general election date of the year in which city or town elections regularly are scheduled to be held therein.
B. Alternatively, the registered voters of a city or town may file a petition with the circuit court of the city or of the county within which the town is located asking that a referendum be held on the question of whether the city or town should elect the mayor, if an elected mayor is provided for by charter, and council members at the November general election date of any cycle as designated in the petition. The petition shall be signed by registered voters equal in number to at least ten percent of the number registered in the city or town on the January 1 preceding the filing.
The court, pursuant to § 24.2-684, shall order the election officials on a day fixed in the order to conduct a referendum on the question, provided that no such referendum shall be scheduled between January 1 and the May general election date of the year in which city or town elections regularly are scheduled to be held therein. The clerk of the court shall publish notice of the referendum once a week for the three consecutive weeks prior to the referendum in a newspaper having general circulation in the city or town, and shall post a copy of the notice at the door of the courthouse of the city or county within which the town is located. The question on the ballot shall be:
“Shall the (city or town) change the election date of the mayor (if so provided by charter) and members of council from the May general election to the November general election (in even-numbered or odd-numbered years or as otherwise designated in the petition)?”
If members of the school board in the city or town are elected by the voters, the ballot question also shall state that the change in election date applies to the election of school board members.
The referendum shall be held and the results certified as provided in § 24.2-684. If a majority of the voters voting in the referendum vote in favor of the change, the mayor and council thereafter shall be elected at the November general election date for terms to commence January 1.
C. Except as provided in subsection D, no term of a mayor or member of council shall be shortened in implementing the change to the November election date. Mayors and members of council who were elected at a May general election and whose terms are to expire as of June 30 shall continue in office until their successors have been elected at the November general election and have been qualified to serve.
D. In any city or town that elects its council biennially or quadrennially and that changes to the November general election date in odd-numbered years from the May general election date in even-numbered years, mayors and members of council who were elected at a May general election shall have their term of office shortened by six months but shall continue in office until their successors have been elected at the November general election and have been qualified to serve.
1. Definition for Referendum
Any election held pursuant to law to submit a question to the voters for approval or rejection.
2. Definition for General election
An election held in the Commonwealth on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November or on the first Tuesday in May for the purpose of filling offices regularly scheduled by law to be filled at those times.
3. Definition for Registered voter
Any person who is maintained on the Virginia voter registration system. All registered voters shall be maintained on the Virginia voter registration system with active status unless assigned to inactive status by a general registrar in accordance with Chapter 4 (§ 24.2-400 et seq.). For purposes of applying the precinct size requirements of § 24.2-307, calculating election machine requirements pursuant to Article 3 (§ 24.2-625 et seq.) of Chapter 6, mailing notices of local election district, precinct or polling place changes as required by subdivision 13 of § 24.2-114 and § 24.2-306, and determining the number of signatures required for candidate and voter petitions, “registered voter” shall include only persons maintained on the Virginia voter registration system with active status. For purposes of determining if a signature on a petition shall be included in the count toward meeting the signature requirements of any petition, “registered voter” shall include only persons maintained on the Virginia voter registration system (i) with active status and (ii) on inactive status who are qualified to vote for the office for which the petition was circulated.
4. Definition for Board
The State Board of Elections.
5. Definition for State
A state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.
6. Definition for Election
A general, primary, or special election.