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Posted on: October 28, 2021

City Updates Public Regarding School Board At-Large Race

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The City of Portland is aware of some recent questions circulating about the continued candidacy of Sarah Thompson for the At-Large School Board seat. Although Ms. Thompson has indicated in recent news stories that she has withdrawn from the race, the City wishes to clarify that Ms. Thompson does in fact remain a candidate whose name appears on the ballots for the November 2 election, and any votes cast in her favor will be counted.  

The City Clerk informed Ms. Thompson on October 5, 2021 that under the City’s Charter, once a candidate for elected office consents to a nomination, they may not withdraw. The language of the Charter expressly states that all candidates for elected office must file both an acceptance of a nomination and an agreement not to withdraw. Once filed, neither the nomination nor the candidate’s consent/agreement can be withdrawn. (Portland Charter, Article IV, Section 6.) Although Maine State law generally permits withdrawal of candidates, because the City’s Charter is explicit on this point and is different from the usual state rules, the City’s Charter governs elections and campaigns in Portland. (30-A M.R.S. Section 2501.) 

As a result, any votes for any candidate on the ballot must be counted. This means that should candidate Thompson win, she would have to resign if she does not want to occupy the seat. 

Should she resign, this would mean the seat would remain empty until the next election. At this point, the City Clerk expects nomination papers will be available in January 2022 for the next election in June 2022. 

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