Rochester election may lead to election-law change
Rochester DFL Rep. Kim Norton is considering drafting legislation aimed at addressing a problem uncovered by this year's Rochester City Council election.
Longtime Rochester City Council President Dennis Hanson's name remained on the November ballot even though he passed away on June 27. The issue is that state law does not allow a candidate's name to be removed from the ballot in a nonpartisan race — even if the candidate has died since filling to run. State law also did not allow for a re-opening of the filing period. That left one other living candidate — Jan Throndson — on the ballot. Another candidate, Jeff Thompson, launched a write-in campaign.
Hanson's family and friends ended up mounting a campaign urging people to vote for Hanson to force a special election. They were successful, with Hanson winning 51.4 percent of the vote. A special election is expected to be held in early April to fill the seat, which is expected to cost between $50,000 to $60,000. But the price tag could climb to $120,000 if a primary election is needed.
Norton said she wants to see if a change could be made to help avoid this type of situation in the future.
"We shouldn't have to spend this kind of money to do this. There should be a process in place," she said.