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A May 7 write-in election is planned for the District 4 York City Council seat held by the late Harmon Merritt because no candidates have formally filed for the seat.
Wanda Hemphill, director of York County Voter Registration and Elections, said she has never seen any cases in York County where not a single candidate filed to run in a municipal election.
However, she said it has occured in other counties.
“Because no one did file, we will have to move forward with the election for May 7 and hopefully there will be some individual who will be interested and campaign as a write-in candidate,” Hemphill said.
The seat became vacant when Merritt, 74, died Feb. 6 after a battle against pancreatic cancer. Candidates for the seat must live in District 4, which covers a large area in the central part of York.
Merritt had held the seat since November 2010. He won the seat when he was the only candidate to file for it after former Councilman Tony Moore resigned to move for his job.
Merritt also had served one previous stint in the seat, from 1998 to 2002.
York council members serve four-year staggared terms. Hemphill said about two years remain in the current term for District 4.
Hemphill said she didn’t receive very many inquiries about the seat during the weeklong filing period earlier this month. “People are in the know that this seat is up,” she said. “But it hasn’t generated a lot of calls for us as far as an interest level.”
When a write-in election is held, she said, voters can write in the name of a candidate; the person with the most write-in votes wins, as long as he or she meets the residency requirements.
There is no filing requirement with a write-in election, she said. However, Hemphill said anyone who thinks they might be interested in the seat is encouraged to contact the county elections office.
Hemphill said she encourages potential candidates to make their candidacy as official as possible. “We could have them on record as filing as a write-in and we could pass that on to voters and the media,” she said.
If someone is interested in the seat, “they would need to have enough information out there and circulated within the community to get enough voters to write in their name,” she said.
The York County Voter Registration and Elections Office can be reached at 684-1242.