TOPEKA (KSNT) – There are two weeks to go before the filing deadline for city and school board elections in Topeka, and election officials say there are not a lot of candidates this year.
Candidates for any position have to file paperwork at the Shawnee County Election Office by 12:00 p.m. on June 1 to appear on the November ballot.
Currently, only Topeka City Councilman Mike Padilla has filed to run for mayor of Topeka, and current Mayor Michelle De La Isla announced she won’t seek reelection. Shawnee County Election Commissioner Andrew Howell said this is unusual, but they have seen city and school board candidates wait to file right before the deadline.
“I would not be surprised to see a few more people, drainage district candidates, typically a lot of incumbents get busy and wait until the end,” Howell said. “We’ve also seen brand new people to elections that want to run for something think about it and make their decision on June 1.”
If Padilla is the only candidate on the ballot, Howell said it doesn’t mean an automatic win for him. Padilla would still need the majority of people to vote for him. There is a chance someone could run as a “write-in” candidate, but Howell said it is more difficult to win without having your name on the ballot.
The low number of candidates is not only affecting the mayoral race. Howell said only the Topeka City Council District Three race has qualified for a primary so far. City and school board races need at least four candidates to have a primary.
If there is a primary in August, all of the candidates will appear on the ballot and the top two candidates will move on to the general election.
Unlike federal and state races, Howell said city and school board elections are non-partisan. This means both the primary and general election ballot will look different for voters.
“There is no particular party designation. There’s no party primary,” Howell said. “They are considered to be non-partisan races, so you will not see a party designation by anyone’s name either in the primary or the general election.”
However, the primary is not guaranteed. Howell said candidates can also remove their name from the ballot by June 1. If we end up with less than four candidates in the District Three race, all of those candidates will move on to the general election.
If there is a primary election in Shawnee County, it will be held on August 3. The general election is scheduled for November 2.