Legislation Passes Authorizing Special Elections By Mail

Legislation has passed both the House and Senate to authorize counties to hold special elections by mail if a resolution adopted by the county council or board of county commissioners directs the special election to be held in this manner. SB 171, and its House companion, HB 196, expands a law passed previously to authorize Montgomery County to hold special elections by mail and expands the process to apply to all counties.

A local special election is an election that is not held concurrently with a regularly scheduled primary or general election.  The special election can be held for the office of county council or county commissioner, members of a local board of eduction or a charter board, or to submit a local law enacted by a code home rule county to the voters for adoption of rejection.   Voting by mail would only occur if the county council or board of county commissioners directs that the election be conducted in this manner.  However, if local elected officials authorize a special election to be conducted by mail, there are specific criteria that must be followed. One such requirement is that a voting center be established located at the local board office or another location to give voters an opportunity to cast a ballot, instead of returning by mail. The office would need to be open for voting beginning 6 days before the special election through the day of the election between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday; and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.