The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Tennessee County Municipal Advisory Service

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Conducting Municipal Elections

Reference Number: MTAS-184
Tennessee Code Annotated
Reviewed Date: September 07, 2016
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Dates and Changes
In election law, there is no uniform date for municipal elections as there is for county elections. Private act charters prescribe election dates, and a private act municipality may change its election date by changing its charter. In addition to any existing charter provisions, a private act municipality may change its election via ordinance to coincide with the August or November general election. The ordinance changing an election date may extend terms for no more than two years as necessary to meet the general election date. T.C.A. § 6-54-138.

The general law mayor-aldermanic charter provides that the first election after the incorporation of the municipality shall be held no later than 62 days following the incorporation election; and it authorizes the board of mayor and aldermen to change its election date by ordinance to coincide with the August or November general election. The ordinance changing an election date may extend terms for no more than two years as necessary to meet the general election date. T.C.A. § 6-1-207, T.C.A. § 6-3-104.

The general law city manager-commission charter provides that the first election of commissioners shall be the fourth Tuesday following the incorporation election, and it authorizes the board of commissioners to change the election date by ordinance to coincide with the August or November general state election. The ordinance changing an election date may extend terms for no more than two years as necessary to meet the general election date. T.C.A. § 6-20-102.

The general law modified city manager-council charter provides that the first election of council members after the incorporation of the municipality shall be the fourth Tuesday following the incorporation election, and it authorizes the city council to change the election date by ordinance. The ordinance changing an election date may extend terms for no more than two years as necessary to meet the general election date. T.C.A. § 6-31-102.

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