Boston Herald

Healey extends council election deadlines

- By Gayla Cawley gcawley@bostonhera­

A bill that extends candidate filing deadlines for district councilors in Boston passed through the state Legislatur­e and was signed into law by the governor.

Originally submitted by Mayor Michelle Wu, the home rule petition allows candidates additional time to pick up and file nomination papers, June 13 and 23, respective­ly, and clarifies signature-counting procedures, in light of this month’s federal court ruling that threw out the city’s prior redistrict­ing map.

Prior deadlines had already passed for district council candidates, who previously had until May 16 and 23 to obtain and file nomination papers. The Boston Elections Department now has until July 7 to certify signatures, compared to June 27 under the prior timeline, the legislatio­n states.

The bill was approved by the House and Senate, and signed by Gov. Maura Healey on Tuesday, a spokespers­on for the governor confirmed.

“We are grateful to the Legislatur­e and governor for their swift action to ensure the Boston Elections Department can work to administer a full elections process within the revised timelines,” a Wu spokespers­on said.

On the local level, the City Council approved the mayor’s home rule petition on May 17. A week later, the Council passed a new redistrict­ing map, but the court may still need to weigh in on the revised voting lines before they go into effect.

While the legislatio­n extends candidate filing deadlines for district council seats, it does not change the dates of the preliminar­y and municipal elections, which are scheduled for Sept. 12 and Nov. 7, respective­ly.

The new deadlines only apply to district councilor candidates. At-large candidates, who represent the entire city and were thus not impacted by redistrict­ing changes, are still operating under the regular municipal election filing dates.

The bill also provides clarity for signature certificat­ion under the new voting lines.

Signatures submitted to the city’s Election Department prior to last week’s redistrict­ing changes “shall be deemed valid,” as long as the signee was a registered voter “within either the new district or the district in which the candidate was initially running,” per last year’s now-enjoined map, the bill states.

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