City elections are held in the City of Ann Arbor every year.* Elections are held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in August (Primary) and November (General). Special elections are held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in May as needed. The City Clerk is the city's chief elections officer and is responsible for the administration of all city elections. One councilmember from each of the city's five wards is elected each year in November. The mayor is elected in even-year elections in November. All are two-year terms.*
*November 2017 will be the last odd-year Council election, at which time, Council will begin to have staggered four-year terms, elected in even years. The 2017 election only will be for a three-year term.
Running for City Office
Municipal elections in the City of Ann Arbor are open and PARTISAN. Candidates' political party affiliations are listed on the ballot. However, it is not necessary to declare political party preference in order to vote in a primary election in the City of Ann Arbor. To vote in any city election, you must be a qualified voter in the State of Michigan and the City of Ann Arbor.
Pursuant to City Charter (13.4), City Primary elections for mayor and City Council are held only if necessary. If "petitions have been filed for no more than one candidate for the office from each political party nominating candidates therefor, no primary election shall be held respective to that office."
The filing deadline to run as a partisan City Council candidate in 2017 is April 25, 2017, at 4 p.m. Those candidates who wish to run without party affiliation (independent) have until August 9, 2017 at 5 p.m. to file petitions for the November General Election.
Qualifications for City Office and Filing Petitions
The Ann Arbor City Charter requires that candidates for mayor and City Council receive nominating petitions from the City Clerk. Section 13.8 b states that the Clerk must enter the name of the person on whose behalf the petition is to be circulated and the name of the office for which the person is a candidate. Therefore, no blank petition sheets will be provided. Anyone seeking petitions must inform the City Clerk of the name of the candidate. Another person can obtain nominating petitions on behalf of a candidate as long as that information is provided.
Nominating petitions for mayor must contain a minimum of 250 signatures. No more than 350 signatures will be accepted. Candidates for mayor must have a minimum of 50 signatures from each of the city's five wards. Only registered and qualified electors of the City of Ann Arbor can sign petitions for mayor.
Nominating petitions for City Council must contain a minimum of 100 signatures. No more than 200 signatures will be accepted. Only registered and qualified electors of the City of Ann Arbor and the ward in which the candidate is running can sign petitions for City Council.
Candidates without political party affiliation, circulating qualifying petitions, may only collect signatures within 180 days prior to filing.
Pursuant to Section 12.2 of the Ann Arbor City Charter, a person is eligible to hold an elected City office if the person on the date of filing petitions for election is a registered elector of the City and in the case of Council Member, of the ward from which elected.
A packet of information and nominating and/or qualifying (no party affiliation) petition forms can be picked up in person at the City Clerk's Office between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays. Please call the City Clerk at 734.794.6140 for more information.
Candidates and persons acting on their behalf are reminded that they are subject to provisions of the Michigan Campaign Finance Act. This law requires filing of various financial reports with the Washtenaw County Clerk. Candidates are advised to check with the Washtenaw County Clerk regarding required reporting and deadlines.
Washtenaw County Clerk Elections Web Page