Frisco to spend more than $220K on special Jan. 29 election to fill vacant seat

Frisco City Council on Dec. 7 approved plans to hold a special election on Jan. 29 to elect a new member for Place 5. (Courtesy city of Frisco)
Frisco City Council on Dec. 7 approved plans to hold a special election on Jan. 29 to elect a new member for Place 5. (Courtesy city of Frisco)

Frisco City Council on Dec. 7 approved plans to hold a special election on Jan. 29 to elect a new member for Place 5. (Courtesy city of Frisco)

A special election to be held next month for the vacant seat on Frisco City Council is projected to cost the city $220,358.

City Council on Dec. 7 approved plans to hold the election on Jan. 29 to elect a new member for Place 5. Acting Council Member Dan Stricklin announced his campaign for the Precinct 2 seat on the Denton County Commissioners Court on Nov. 26.

In doing this, Stricklin “effectively resigned his City Council Place 5 seat,” according to a city memo. Stricklin is still able to perform duties as a Council Member until a successor is chosen.

Due to state law and Frisco’s city charter, City Council was required to set an election date no later than 120 days from Stricklin’s resignation.

Furthermore, City Council could not set an election date exactly 120 days after Stricklin’s resignation on March 26 due to that date being within 30 days of the upcoming Texas primary election on March 1.


“Unfortunately, logic doesn’t always align with the law,” said Mayor Jeff Cheney. “I think sometimes common sense would say, ‘Why wouldn’t you just wait until May?’”

Council Member Shona Huffman, who cast the only vote against the special election in protest of state law, said it was likely that Frisco voters may be going back to the polls every two to three weeks for the next six months. She said she was flooded with complaints when Frisco voters faced a similar flurry of elections in 2016.

She said runoff elections are “very typical” in races such as these, and regret pitting residents against “voter fatigue” if the special election, the state primary election and Frisco City Council’s regular elections wear on for weeks.

“It dilutes the process. It creates voter fatigue. It is so confusing for the voter,” Huffman said. “Rushing to Jan. 29, I feel, is a disservice to our residents.”

Mayor Pro Tem Bill Woodard reluctantly voted to approve the special election after echoing sentiments shared by Huffman. Ultimately, he said he chose to vote in approval for the election to abide by state law, but urged lawmakers to make changes.

“I think it’s absolutely terrible to have to try to do something in this short a time period,” Woodard said.

Costs to be incurred in Collin County are estimated to total $162,306. Denton County costs are estimated to total more than $58,052.

The city reduced the usual eight polling locations to six polling locations due to “historically low voter turnout and cost considerations,” according to the memo. For that reason, the city had to realign city and county precincts that were previously assigned to other polling locations.

Filing for a place on the ballot will begin on 8 a.m. Dec. 8 through 5 p.m. Dec. 20. Drawing for a place on the ballot will occur at 4 p.m. Dec. 21 in the Frisco City Hall Council Chambers.

The last day to register to vote is Dec. 30, and the last day to receive an application for a mail-in ballot is Jan. 18.

Early voting begins Jan. 12 and will run through Jan. 25.
By Matt Payne
Matt Payne reports on Frisco City Hall and its committees, Collin County Commissioners and McKinney business. His experience includes serving as online content editor at Fort Worth Magazine and city editor at the Killeen Daily Herald. He is a 2017 graduate of the Frank W. and Sue Mayborn School of Journalism at the University of North Texas in Denton.