Nominating papers for candidates seeking election to a recently vacated Inland Empire senate seat can be filed starting today.
Registrar of Voters' offices in Riverside and San Bernardino counties will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to supply prospective candidates with required materials, process filing fees and answer any questions they may have.
Candidates have until Jan. 31 to turn in papers and pay fees.
Gov. Jerry Brown last month ordered a special election for the 23rd Senate District seat, left open by the unexpected resignation of Sen. Bill Emmerson, R-Redlands, in November. Emmerson cited a lack of "passion and commitment" for the job as reasons for his departure.
According to Riverside County Registrar of Voters Kari Verjil, to meet state requirements, a person wanting to vie for the seat must be a registered voter and submit a declaration of candidacy with a nominating petition bearing the names of 40 registered voters who support the prospective candidate.
The individual must also pay a $952.91 filing fee. However, a prospect can defray the fee by collecting signatures on an in-lieu-of-filing-fee petition. Three thousand registered voters' signatures are required to waive the fee. Anything less, and the fee is reduced pro rata at 31 cents for every signature, Verjil said.
According to the registrar, only one filing fee has to be paid, even though the district encompasses two counties. She said candidates who wish to post a 250-word statement on sample ballots must pay $2,500 in Riverside County.
The special election will be held March 25. If no candidate wins a majority of votes, the two top finishers meet in a runoff during the June 3 primary.
Assemblyman Mike Morrell, R-Rancho Cucamonga, has already declared his candidacy.
Boundaries of the 23rd Senate District were drawn up after the 2010 census. The district's southern boundary is at Hemet, the northern boundary at Big Bear, eastern boundary at Cabazon and western boundary at Rancho Cucamonga.—City News Service