More than one person who was seeking to run for Oakland mayor this fall says the City Clerk’s office changed the deadline for filing at the last minute, leading to fewer candidates on the ballot.

Monesha “MJ” Carter said the deadline was originally Aug. 17. But just before 2 p.m. Aug. 12, Carter said she received a call informing her that the deadline was at the end of the day.

Carter and two of her colleagues left work and collected the balance of the signatures she needed to qualify. She filed in time but was told Aug. 15 that her signatures were insufficient. If the deadline was the following week, she may have qualified, Carter said Tuesday.

“I just want to be on the ballot,” said Carter, a teacher in Oakland and Howard University graduate hoping to join the ranks of other graduates who are mayors.

Carter on July 28 picked up her paperwork to file for mayor and on Aug. 1 received confirmation of an appointment at 4 p.m. Aug. 15 to file the completed paperwork with the City Clerk’s office.

Her confirmation from the clerk’s office, which was reviewed by Bay City News, says, “Monesha, you’re booked. Your visit on Monday, August 15, 2022: 4:00 PDT Nomination Papers Filing – DEADLINE is August 12th (or August 17th for offices with NO incumbent) – Election Services.”

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf is not running for mayor this fall because her term in office is up by law, so no incumbent is running.

Carter booked her appointment through Schedulicity, a program used by the City Clerk for scheduling.

“It’s just a whole debacle,” Carter said.

Carter said she has always received correspondence from the clerk’s office in a timely manner, so she had no reason to think there was going to be a problem like this.

“I just need the city to account for this,” she said.

She is hoping that the city can offer a filing extension. She does not know why her signatures were deemed insufficient and a spokesperson for the Alameda County Registrar of Voters office did not respond to answer that question by the time of publication.

Since Carter received that notice, she has collected more signatures, which may allow her to qualify if Oakland makes the deadline retroactive to Aug. 17.

“I’m disappointed,” Carter said. “I love Oakland.”

She also goes to church in Oakland.

Others have alleged the same problem as Carter, including Allyssa Victory (Villanueva). Neither Villanueva nor Carter was on the list of mayoral candidates posted Monday on the city’s website. Nine candidates are on the list, including three current City Council members.

Emails to City Clerk Asha Reed, the city’s spokesperson and the Secretary of State’s office, which manages the state’s election process, were not immediately returned.

Keith Burbank, Bay City News

Keith Burbank is currently a fulltime reporter covering Alameda County and Oakland news for Bay City News. He has also worked on the Data Points project for Local News Matters, finding trends and stories about the region through data. In 2019, he was a California Fellow at the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism, producing a series about homeless deaths in Santa Clara County. He worked as a swing shift editor for the newswire for several years as well. Outside of journalism, Keith enjoys computer programming, math, economics and music.