Gossips took the question of who, besides Ryan Wallace, will be Third Ward alderman in 2022 to Ken Dow, Democratic Commissioner of Elections. Dow's response was that issue was covered not by Election Law but by Public Officers Law, specifically Section 13 and Section 30. The Board of Elections' role is to certify which two candidates received the most votes. After that, it is up to the City to work things out. Should Calvin Lewis not take the oath of office within 30 days from the date when his term is to begin--in this case, January 1, 2022--the remainder of the Council will decide who will fill that position. The procedure would be the same as if an alderman resigned before completing his or her term. If the Council will decide who will serve the Third Ward, the question is will they pay any regard to the will of the voters in the Third Ward?
Earlier this year, after Calvin Lewis resigned, the Council appointed Ryan Wallace to fill the vacancy. The choice, it seems, was prompted by a letter of interest from Wallace submitted to Council president Tom DePietro. Wallace was at that point an uncontested candidate for Third Ward alderman, having filed designating petitions back in March.
In the past, when aldermen have resigned, things were handled a bit differently. In March 2012, when recently elected First Ward alderman Larissa Thomas resigned after serving for only two months, voters in the First Ward gathered to hear from candidates seeking the office, and in a straw poll, they chose Nick Haddad. The Council respected the wishes of the voters of the ward and appointed Haddad to the vacant position. A similar thing happened in April 2015, when there was a vacancy resulting from David Marston's resignation to take a job in Minnesota. First Ward voters gathered again and in a straw poll demonstrated their preference for Rick Rector as their new alderman. Once again, the Council respected the wishes of the voters.
Now it would seem that the voters of the Third Ward have shown their preference about who should replace Lewis if he does not take his oath of office. That choice is Amber Harris. The question is will the Council respect that choice?