Three four-year council seats and the mayor’s seat — a two-year term — are all up for election in 2018.

The three seats occupied by Councilmen Scott Jablow, Jon “J.T.” Thompson and Tom Lamkin — who was appointed to replace Councilwoman Angela LeFevre after she resigned in January 2016 — are up for grabs.

With the way Sedona’s council is structured, the top three vote-getters could be elected in August, provided they reach a threshold determined by complex equation: The number of total votes cast divided by the number of seats available, divided by half, then plus one vote. If two candidates reach this threshold, they are elected while the top two candidates among the rest continue to a runoff election for the third seat in November.


Election DatesUnlike the council seats, which are elected as a group, the mayor’s race is for just one seat, currently occupied by Sandy Moriarty, who won handily in 2014 and ran unopposed in 2016.


Council should represent all the voices of a city, including young people, working parents and business owners, like other municipalities in the Verde Valley. While council does not pay more than a small monthly stipend, combined with a regular job, a resident of any age could work full-time and comfortably serve on council.

Social media and a few local blogs in Sedona are filled with people espousing their personal political opinions, yet when election time comes around, most do not consider running for office. Some of the loudest voices in the city, who criticize every decision city leaders and city staff make, appear to not have the gumption to take on a leadership role and work to fix the problems they lament.

According to Sedona Clerk’s Office, packets should be available in early February. Candidates need to collect a minimum of 96 petition signatures for all four seats.

To run for council, candidates need to be a qualified elector — i.e., a U.S. citizen, registered voter and age 18 or older on or before the regular general election — be able to speak, write and read the English language; have resided within the Sedona City limits for one year preceding the election; cannot be a felon unless his or her civil rights have been restored; not be adjudicated an “incapacitated person”; and not be a candidate for more than one public office if the elections for those offices are held on the same date and if the person would be prohibited from serving in the offices simultaneously.

Running for council can be inexpensive. A few big donations or lots of little ones would more than cover any resident’s electoral run. There are plenty of community-sponsored forums and debates to get one’s message out.

It’s suggested that potential candidates know the city’s priorities and issues, how municipal budgets work, understand the mechanics of Sedona’s tourism economy, respect the hardworking city staff and have attended a few City Council, Planning & Zoning and commission meetings. Having a reputation for integrity, honesty and logical thinking also helps, especially when dealing with the local newspaper and its editor.

Candidates must file their paperwork and petitions with city between Monday, April 30 and Wednesday, May 30.

Primary election day is Tuesday, Aug. 28. The last day to register to vote is Monday, July 30, and early voting runs from Wednesday, Aug. 1 to Friday, Aug. 24.

The runoff election, if one is needed, will be held Tuesday, Nov. 6.

We encourage our city’s best minds to run for office. Make Sedona the city you think it should be.

Christopher Fox Graham

Managing Editor



From the city of Sedona's elections page: http://sedonaaz.gov/your-government/departments/city-clerk/elections-information


Resource links

Yavapai County elections web page 
Coconino County elections web page 
Sedona campaign finance documentation archive: filed by candidate name / Political Action committee 
Sandra Day O'Connor voter engagement project


How do I run for office?
City Council and mayoral candidate packets are available through the City Clerk's Office. Call (928) 282-3113 to set an appointment to obtain a packet. to run for city council or mayor residents must meet the following qualifications:

In accordance with A.R.S. § 9-232A, a candidate for local office must be a qualified elector at the time of filing their nominating paper. Qualifications are as follows:

  • A candidate must be a *Qualified Elector.
  • A candidate must be 18 years of age or older.
  • A candidate must be able to speak, write, and read the English language.
  • A candidate must reside within the Sedona City limits for one year preceding the election.
  • A person convicted of a felony cannot serve as a Council member until his/her civil rights have been restored.
  • A person adjudicated an “incapacitated person” cannot serve as a Council member.
  • A person cannot be a candidate for more than one public office if the elections for those offices are held on the same date and if the person would be prohibited from serving in the offices simultaneously.

*A qualified elector must:

  • Be a United States citizen,
  • Be a registered voter,
  • Be 18 years of age or more on or before the regular general election next following his registration,
  • Have State residency for a period of twenty-nine days prior to the election,
  • Have Residency in the City for twenty-nine days prior to the election, and
  • Have the ability to write one’s name or make his mark unless prevented by physical disability.

Who can vote in a city election? 
Residents who 
live within the Sedona city limits and are registered to vote at least 29 days prior to an election.

Is there early voting? 
If you will be out of town during the ballot mailing period and do not have a forwarding address where your ballot can be sent, you can vote early. Contact your County Recorder for early voting locations. If you do have an address where your ballot can be sent contact Yavapai or Coconino County Voter Registration and let them know the address the week before election ballots are mailed. 

Is there a publicity pamphlet? 
Publicity pamphlets are only created during elections that have issues requiring one.

How do I submit an argument for a publicity pamphlet? 
Bring your argument he Sedona City Clerk's Office, 102 Roadrunner Drive, Sedona, Arizona 86336. Each argument, either pro or con, cannot be more than 300 words and may require a deposit of up to $250. The deadline for submitting arguments is 90 days prior to an election where a publicity pamphlet is required.

Where do I register to vote? 
If you are not registered and want to vote in an election, you must be a qualified voter and be registered to vote at least 29 days prior to the election. If you live in Sedona-Yavapai County, you must register to vote with Yavapai County. If you live in Sedona-Coconino County, you must register to vote with Coconino County. Voter registration forms for both counties are available at the Sedona City Clerk's Office, 102 Roadrunner Drive. 

If you are a registered voter and have changed your name, residential, or mailing address, you need to re-register to vote at least 29 days prior to the election. If you have any doubt about your voter registration status contact your county voter registration office: Yavapai County Voter Registration is 928-639-8100; Coconino County Voter Registration is 1-800-793-6181.