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Odd Rule Excludes Some Voters From San Diego City Council Race

Former San Diego City Council President Tony Young started out his new year by officially tendering his resignation. Young left the council to take over the local chapter of the American Red Cross. Now the clock has started ticking. San Diego has less than 90 days to hold a special election to replace Young in District 4. Council President Todd Gloria said the city’s looking at a tentative date of March 26.

Almost as soon as the San Diego City Council grew to nine members, a surprise resignation shrunk it back to eight again. The race is on to fill the open seat, but not everyone will get a chance to vote in it.

Photo credit: City of San Diego

This section of San Diego's Municipal Code dictates that the special election in District 4 must be held using the old district boundaries.

"I say tentative because we’re working to try to consolidate that special election with another state special election, which would have the benefit of saving the city approximately $100,000," he said.

Recent city redistricting is also complicating the election. Gloria said city code mandates candidates and voters for those candidates live within the old boundaries of District 4. That means anyone living in the newly added neighborhoods of Redwood Village and Rolando Park cannot take part in the district election. Gloria said that code will likely not be fixed in time for the election. But he said all District 4 residents will be represented during the election process.

"The staff has been asked to stay on and they’ve agreed to. So for the people of District 4, they will continue to be well served by the people who have been serving them for many years now," he said. "And they should continue to call and email the office the way they have in the past until the new council member is seated."

Gloria said he’ll supervise the district staff for now. He expects the City Council to formally declare a vacancy in District 4 and set the election date at next Monday's meeting. If no candidate wins the special election with more than 50 percent the vote, a run-off election will be held between the two candidates who receive the most votes. The run-off must be held within 49 days of the special election.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated a run-off election has to be held within 45 days. It is actually 49 days.

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