Edmond elections
(Mike Allen)

(Update: On Tuesday, Dec. 13, the City of Edmond website noted that one of the remaining mayoral challengers had withdrawn his candidacy, functionally cancelling the need for a February 2023 primary in Edmond. Learn more here. The post below remains in its original format.)

They say Edmond is a great place to grow, and as someone who spent his formative years in the community, I can say the sentiment seems true for young people.

But we can also take it to mean that residents face a growing number of elections for city offices in Edmond. With candidate filing concluding last week, a healthy number of candidates chose to toss their hats into the ring for the February primary election and the April general election.

Four people filed to run for Edmond mayor, although one withdrew days later. Open races in the Ward 1 and Ward 2 Edmond City Council races drew two candidates each. With only two candidates, that means the Ward 1 and Ward 2 races will occur in April.

But the unusual rules about Edmond elections can confuse voters. Even though the Ward 1 and Ward 2 races are for specific city wards, all voters in the city are eligible to vote in the April general election. Had three or more candidates filed for a ward race, however, only voters in the specific ward would have been able to vote in a February primary. Then, all city voters would have been eligible for the general in April.

Edmond’s election rules have other unusual components. First, the city’s mayoral races occur every two years, a very populist requirement that gives the people the power to oust their municipal leader more quickly than in neighboring cities.

Second, with three mayoral candidates on the Feb. 14 primary ballot this year, voters are guaranteed to have an April 4 mayoral general election as well, even if one candidate receives a majority of support in the primary. That unusual rule infamously created a bizarre situation in 2019 where voters gave more than 55 percent support to Dan O’Neil in the February primary but again had to choose between O’Neil and Charles Lamb in April, even though Lamb had died in December.

Add all of these odd rules together, you have an exhaustive process for the candidates running and for the voters who elect them. Do more chances to vote lead to more voters? Likely not, but it’s an interesting experiment Edmond has been so kind to run.

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