Election

District 2 voters will go to the polls Nov. 23 for a special city council election.

District 2 voters will go to the polls Nov. 23 in a special election to fill the vacancy left by Councilwoman Sharon Hughes’ death last week.

City council set the date for the election during a special meeting Wednesday night. The winner of the election will fill the remainder of Hughes’ term, which runs through April 2023.

Candidates have until Oct. 25 to file to run in the election.

In order to be eligible to run, a potential candidate must be a registered voter, reside in the district he or she is seeking to represent, have lived in the city for at least one year and submit a nominating petition signed by 10 qualified voters in the district. Those interested should contact City Secretary Renee Bensley at citysecretary@newark.de.us or 302-366-7000.

District 2 encompasses the eastern part of the city, including Catalina Gardens, Yorkshire Woods, Cannons Gate, the Village of Fountainview, White Chapel, Lumbrook, Prestwick Farms, Stafford, Laura’s Glen, George Read Village, the Washington House, part of Main Street and surrounding areas.

Under city code, a special election must be held within 60 days of the seat becoming vacant, meaning that Nov. 23 is the last Tuesday it could be held. That date is just two days before Thanksgiving in a week when many people may be heading out of town for the holiday.

While an in-person polling place will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., residents are encouraged to vote by absentee ballot – an option that has gained popularity since the pandemic began. In the last election, more than 35 percent of votes were cast by mail.

On Wednesday, several council members expressed frustration with the 60-day deadline to schedule the election.

“Its not enough time for anybody to really run a campaign,” Councilman Jason Lawhorn said.

Councilman John Suchanec, who was elected during a special election in July, agreed, saying he experienced that difficulty first-hand.

“You're running 1,000 miles an hour, and you don't have time to do everything that you would want to do in a normal, reasonable election period,” Suchanec said. “It is doable, but it's going to put a tremendous burden on the people that choose to run. It's hard to reach everybody.”

City Secretary Renee Bensley said that later this fall, she will present council with options for amending the city’s charter to provide more time to schedule future special elections. Any amendment would have to be approved by council and ratified by the state legislature.

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