By Joy Hampton
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Candidate filing for odd-numbered Norman city council wards and for mayor starts Monday at the Cleveland County Election Board, 641 E. Robinson St. As candidates continue to announce prior to the approach of the filing deadline, most positions appear likely to be incumbents and challengers promising an interesting municipal political season in Norman.
Filing will run from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The council seats — which include wards 1,3,5 and 7 — are two-year terms, while the mayor is a three-year term. So far, all of the incumbents have announced that they will run for re-election.
Cleveland County Election Board Secretary Jim Williams said the fee to file for candidacy is $50 for city council and $75 for mayor. The filing fee must paid with a cashier’s or certified check and should be made out to the “Secretary, Cleveland County Election Board.”
“Once they file with their check, I pick up the checks at the end of filing,” City Clerk Brenda Hall said. “I hold onto them until after the election. If they receive at least 15 percent of the votes cast or are unopposed, I return the checks.”
Candidates also may file by petition, with council candidates needing 50 signatures from registered voters within the ward where the candidate is seeking office. Mayoral candidates must obtain 100 signatures of registered voters who are eligible to vote in Norman.
Norman’s city elections are non-partisan, meaning candidates do not declare a political party and any registered voter can cast a ballot for a candidate within the voter’s ward of residence regardless of party affiliation.
Candidates must be registered voters in the city for at least six months prior to the municipal runoff election and must also live in the ward at the time of filing.
The initial city election will be April 2. A runoff, if needed, will be May 14.
Candidates are required to complete a Declaration of Candidacy form which is available for download on the Cleveland County Election Board website, clevelandcountyelectionboard.com. Forms are also available at the election board office, 641 E. Robinson St. The forms must be notarized and returned to the board.
Election board staff cannot notarize candidate filing papers. Because Norman city council elections are non-partisan, when completing the Declaration of Candidacy form, all candidates should leave political party blank.
Norman has an Election Commission, which is charged with the oversight of candidate campaign finance rules and other campaign issues such as signs. A public meeting to introduce city candidates and other interested persons to campaign finance and signage laws will be 6 p.m. Jan. 30 in the City Council Chambers, 201 W. Gray St.
The informative meeting is open to the public.
“It’s not just for candidates,” Election Commission Chair Ty Hardiman said. “It’s for any committee or anyone else who might be spending money on a campaign or anyone who wants to know more.”
Anyone who seeks nomination or election to city office and any individual or committee acting to promote or oppose a city candidate and spends or receives $500 or more must file contribution and expenditure reports with the city. Campaign finances must be reported 10 days prior to the election.
More information is available at the Norman City Clerk’s office and at the informational meeting Jan. 30.
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