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Filing period for municipal elections begins today



FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The time is now for those who want to seek municipal office in Northwest Arkansas.

The candidate filing period for the nonpartisan elections starts at noon today and will end Aug. 5.

The filing process hasn’t changed because of covid-19, said Dana Caler, Benton County election administrator. The first step for those interested is stopping by the Benton or Washington county clerk’s office or their city office to pick up the paperwork.

The packets have everything filers need including the petition forms, the political practice pledge and the affidavit of eligibility, said Becky Lewallen, Washington County clerk. Those seeking office need from 10 to 30 signatures of registered voters in the city depending on its size.

Packets can be emailed by both the city and the county if filers don’t feel comfortable picking them up in person, she said.

Lewallen encouraged filers to remember health and social distancing guidelines when picking up or dropping off forms.

“Wear your masks in,” Lewallen said. “Try to keep it to the candidate only.”

Mayors in Fayetteville, Rogers and Springdale are up for reelection, and dozens of city council seats and other elected offices are on the ballot. The incumbent mayors in those three cities — Lioneld Jordan, Greg Hines and Doug Sprouse, respectively — said they will seek reelection.

Fayetteville City Hall has been closed since March 19, and prospective candidates will have to call about forms, said Kara Paxton, city clerk/treasurer.

Paperwork can be sent through email or arrangements can be made to take the forms outside to the candidate, Paxton said. Candidates can also call when returning forms to have someone meet them outside City Hall to pick them up, she said.

The petition, along with all other forms, except the statement of financial interest, must be returned to the county clerks’ offices by noon Aug. 5. The city handles the statement of financial interest form and it must also be returned by Aug. 5. The form can be found on the county clerk’s website.

Clerks will also provide a packet that includes a timeline on the filing period, voting dates and when the ballot draw will be, Caler said.

The general election is Nov. 3.

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Candidates for municipal office:

 Must be a qualified elector.

 Must be a U.S. citizen.

 Must be an Arkansas resident.

 Must live in the jurisdiction to be represented at time of filing and throughout term.

 Must be lawfully registered to vote.

 Must never have been convicted of fraud, embezzlement of public money, bribery, forgery or other infamous crime.