Durham's municipal election season is opening a little later than usual this year, thanks to the U.S. Census.
The Board of Elections announced this week that candidate filing begins at noon July 25. It had been scheduled to start, as has been the custom, on July 1 — first Friday in the month. That's what the state elections law requires.
But, said elections director Mike Ashe, state elections law also requires 2011 to be different. In a year that follows a federal census, in a municipality that elects members of its governing board by residential districts, filing may start no earlier than the fourth Friday in July.
This year, Durham will elect a mayor and three city council representatives, all at-large. The three ward — or "district" — seats won't be elected until 2013, and Ashe said he'd thought the census-year provision wouldn't affect this year's Durham election until he consulted the state attorney general about General Statute 163-294.2 section (c).
The result? "You go with the later filing period." But in 2013, when Durham has an election by district, "we'll revert back to the first Friday and do that for 10 more years."