November 4, 2013

In Arcadia, one handwritten name could decide who next fills the city's mayoral seat.

No one has filed to run for the mayor or two city council spots that are up in Tuesday's election, meaning all positions will be filled by write-in.

Although having write-in candidates sprinkled throughout city elections is not uncommon, having no candidates filed at all is unusual, said Kourtney Irlbeck, elections deputy for Carroll County.

"It does not happen very often at all," she said. "(Carroll County Auditor Joan Schettler) said she'd have to go back quite a ways to see the last time it happened. ... It's been a very, very long time."

The most common reason candidates choose to run write-in campaigns is because they didn't file their paperwork in time, Irlbeck said.

"Otherwise, I'm not really sure what they're thinking," she said with a laugh.

This year, the filing period for Carroll County ended Sept. 19.

"If they're just doing a write-in campaign, it's up to them to get their name out there in the community so people will write their name in," she said.

When it comes to writing in nicknames - for instance, Bob instead of Robert - it is up to the precinct election officials to determine what will count toward a vote and what will not, Irlbeck said.

And if no one runs, anyone who writes down his or her name on the ballot could end up as mayor - if the winner is willing to accept the position.

The mayor's term is two years, and council members have four-year staggered terms. The mayor and council members are paid for each meeting they attend.

The current mayor in Arcadia is Julie Gleason. Two spots are open on the Arcadia City Council. Wesley Bierl and Chad Wittrock did not file for re-election. Amy Pawletzki, Joe Berg and Mary Jo Berning will be hold-over council members.

As for who might running for their spots, the county and city aren't sure.

"We haven't heard anything," Irlbeck said. "We even had election worker training, and the two people who are going to be working over there, they hadn't heard anything."