The race for seats in the June 5, 2012, primary election officially gets underway Fri., Dec. 30, when candidates can begin to take out petitions for signatures in lieu of filing fees.
The gathering of signatures of voters in the district in which the candidate is running is optional. Although originally meant to allow low-income citizens to run for office, it has been used by many candidates to informally announce their candidacy or to prove voter support. Some candidates choose to ignore the process and pay the fees.
Any candidate who is seeking an office for which filing fees are required may take out the in lieu papers. Fees are 1 percent of the salary for partisan positions, the county Board of Supervisors and judges. Each signature counts for a portion of the fee for each office. They must be returned by Feb. 23, 2012. If not enough valid signatures are included, more signatures may be obtained in an extended period ending Mar. 9. .
Candidates for the offices involved, whether or not they use in lieu signatures, must file nomination papers between Feb. 23, 2012 and March 9, 2012. The filing period is extended five days where an incumbent does not file seeking re-election.
Candidates for Superior Court judge also have a mandatory period for filing a Declaration of Intent to Run, from Jan. 30 to Feb. 8.
Candidates for supervisor will be deemed elected in June if they get more than 50 percent of the vote in the June election, although their terms will not start until January 2013. If no candidate gets more than 50 percent, there is a run-off in November.
Filing for local offices on the November election ballot begins in July and includes city councils in Martinez and most other Contra Costa cities, school districts; and special districts such as those handling water, sanitary, park and recreation, and other special purpose government activities.
To obtain additional information regarding deadlines and filing signatures in lieu, call Candidate Services at the Election Department at (925) 335-7874 or visit their web site www.cocovote.us. The Elections Department is located at 555 Escobar Street, Martinez and is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., except for state holidays.