As Mayor Marty Walsh prepares to move to Washington, D.C., the Boston City Council voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to cancel a special mayoral election in the summer, and move directly to a fall election.
Approval of the home-rule petition was prompted by the expected resignation of Walsh, nominated by President Joe Biden to serve as Secretary of Labor.
If Walsh, who faces a Senate confirmation hearing Thursday, leaves office before March 5, the city charter would require a primary and special election in the next few months, and then another primary before a general election in November. That would mean four elections, and possibly four different mayors, in 12 months.
The petition passed with 12 votes in favor and a present vote from Councilor Annissa Essaibi George, one of three City Council members currently running for mayor. The other two candidates, Councilors Michelle Wu and Andrea Campbell, voted yes.
City Councilor Ricardo Arroyo, who sponsored the measure, said it's the right thing to do, in light of the pandemic.
"I filed this with the understanding that COVID-19 is the largest crisis facing Boston in our lifetimes,” Arroyo said. “And it would be irresponsible for us to allow for the possibility of four in-person elections for the same office in a five-month span."
The proposal needs approval by the State Legislature and Gov. Charlie Baker, who has indicated that he would sign the legislation.
Material from State House News Service was used in this report.