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Council passes ordinance that does away (temporarily) with signature gathering, creates 'declaration' instead

Ready to run for public office in Molalla?

Thanks to the COVID-19 threat, the process to become a candidate is now streamlined — temporarily.

The Molalla City Council passed an ordinance Wednesday, June 10, that does away with the requirement of gathering 20 or more signatures for prospective candidates. Now, in addition to the normal paperwork to register, candidates can simply sign a "declaration of candidacy" to find themselves on the ballot — provided their paperwork is in order and they meet the eligibility requirements.

The ordinance is modeled after something similar that Woodburn passed a couple weeks ago. It is designed as a protection for those potential candidates that are worried about COVID-19 exposure — either to themselves or others. Now, you don't have to gather signatures to run for office in Molalla.

"The basic premise is we don't want people to have to go out and get signatures if they are uncomfortable with that," explained Dan Huff, Molalla city manager. "Our city only requires 20 signatures, but with the social distancing going on, our council thought it was the right thing to do."

Huff did note that the ordinance doesn't prohibit the gathering of signatures. If you want to, you're welcome to do so, but it is no longer required. This ordinance is good only through the November General Election and expires May 2, 2021.

FILE PHOTO - Keith Swigert is one of four members of the Molalla City Council whose term ends at the end of December.

"We had it on the agenda for the May 27th meeting for discussion, were presented some examples of what other cities have done and found it to be kind of a mixed bag," said Huff. "It was brought back at the June 10 meeting and it was passed."

There are four seats up for election in the November vote: Mayor Keith Swigart, Councilor DeLise Palumbo, Councilor Jody Newland and Councilor Crystal Robles' terms expire December 31, 2020. Anyone interested in running is invited to obtain a packet online or from Molalla City Hall.

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