SIERRA VISTA — Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, local election deadlines remain the same for potential candidates pounding the pavement for signatures that will qualify them to run for a seat on the Sierra Vista City Council, a Sierra Vista official said Monday.
Because the deadline and the number of signatures required to be considered a candidate are set by statute, neither can be changed, said Sierra Vista City Clerk Jill Adams.
That means people interested in running for the three city council seats slated to come open have until July 6 to present 696 signatures collected from the community to the city clerk’s office. That number is the absolute minimum each person must have in order to be considered a viable candidate for the council race in November, Adams said.
At the moment, eight people have filed statements of interest to run for one of the three council seats. Mayor Pro Tem Rachel Gray’s seat will be up for election, as will the seats of Councilwomen Gwen Calhoun and Kristine Wolfe. Gray is running for re-election, but both Calhoun and Wolfe have said they will not seek another term.
Adams said once each person turns in their 696 signatures — or more if they have them — and the names are verified, then he or she can be considered an official candidate.
Why are so many signatures required? The number 696 is five percent of the number of ballots cast in the 2018 mayoral election, Adams said.
Regardless of the current coronavirus scare, Adams is telling people that they may have to work a little harder to gather signatures, but there’s no need to be frantic.
“We’re saying, ‘Don’t panic,’ “ Adams said, referring to potential candidates who have been getting uneasy with the COVID-19 situation. “The deadline is the same. But if things begin to loosen up by May, they’ll still have six weeks to collect signatures.”
Adams said that, according to a potential candidate, some local businesses that are still open are discouraging the collection of signatures on their properties because of social distancing practices.
Additionally, there are no electronic signature options available to potential candidates in any of the cities and towns across Arizona that are having elections, Adams said.
“We’re encouraging them [potential candidates] to get creative,” Adams said.
In other developments Monday, city spokesman Adam Curtis said Tuesday’s 3 p.m. city council work session has been canceled for public attendance, but anyone interested in listening in or watching the session has two options: Channel 12 and online streaming options on the city’s website — https://www.sierravistaaz.gov/city-departments/public-affairs/channel-12/ — and a dial-in line for the call to the public — (520) 515-4004, attendee access code 27848490.