35.23.031  <<  35.23.051 >>   35.23.081

ElectionsTerms of officePositions and wards.

General municipal elections in second-class cities shall be held biennially in the odd-numbered years and shall be subject to general election law.
The terms of office of the mayor, city attorney, clerk, and treasurer shall be four years and until their successors are elected and qualified and assume office in accordance with RCW 29A.60.280: PROVIDED, That if the offices of city attorney, clerk, and treasurer are made appointive, the city attorney, clerk, and treasurer shall not be appointed for a definite term: PROVIDED FURTHER, That the term of the elected treasurer shall not commence in the same biennium in which the term of the mayor commences, nor in which the terms of the city attorney and clerk commence if they are elected.
Council positions shall be numbered in each second-class city so that council position seven has a two-year term of office and council positions one through six shall each have four-year terms of office. Each councilmember shall remain in office until a successor is elected and qualified and assumes office in accordance with RCW 29A.60.280.
In its discretion the council of a second-class city may divide the city by ordinance, into a convenient number of wards, not exceeding six, fix the boundaries of the wards, and change the ward boundaries from time to time and as provided in RCW 29A.76.010. No change in the boundaries of any ward shall be made within one hundred twenty days next before the date of a general municipal election, nor within twenty months after the wards have been established or altered unless pursuant to RCW 29A.92.040 or 29A.92.110. However, if a boundary change results in one ward being represented by more councilmembers than the number to which it is entitled, those having the shortest unexpired terms shall be assigned by the council to wards where there is a vacancy, and the councilmembers so assigned shall be deemed to be residents of the wards to which they are assigned for purposes of determining whether those positions are vacant.
Whenever such city is so divided into wards, the city council shall designate by ordinance the number of councilmembers to be elected from each ward, apportioning the same in proportion to the population of the wards. Thereafter the councilmembers so designated shall be elected by the voters resident in such ward, or by general vote of the whole city as may be designated in such ordinance. Council position seven shall not be associated with a ward and the person elected to that position may reside anywhere in the city and voters throughout the city may vote at a primary to nominate candidates for position seven, when a primary is necessary, and at a general election to elect the person to council position seven. Additional territory that is added to the city shall, by act of the council, be annexed to contiguous wards without affecting the right to redistrict at the expiration of twenty months after last previous division. The removal of a councilmember from the ward for which he or she was elected shall create a vacancy in such office.
Wards shall be redrawn as provided in chapter 29A.76 RCW. Wards shall be used as follows: (1) Only a resident of the ward may be a candidate for, or hold office as, a councilmember of the ward; and (2) only voters of the ward may vote at a primary to nominate candidates for a councilmember of the ward. Voters of the entire city may vote at the general election to elect a councilmember of a ward, unless the city had prior to January 1, 1994, limited the voting in the general election for any or all council positions to only voters residing within the ward associated with the council positions. If a city had so limited the voting in the general election to only voters residing within the ward, then the city shall be authorized to continue to do so. The elections for the remaining council position or council positions that are not associated with a ward shall be conducted as if the wards did not exist.


Retroactive applicationEffective date2019 c 454: See notes following RCW 29A.92.050.
Purpose1979 ex.s. c 126: See RCW 29A.60.280(1).
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