CAIRO — The City of Cairo will hold a special election Tuesday, May 19 to determine the city’s next mayor.

The candidate qualifying period for the election will take place over the course of three days on March 30 and 31 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and April 1 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Candidates can qualify at city hall by paying a $244.80 qualifying fee.

City council members voted to move forward with the special election Monday night in a brief and sparsely-attended meeting held amid concerns over the spread of the coronavirus. City Manager Chris Addleton said the city will have to rely on directives from the state if the coronavirus is widespread in May.

“We don’t know that yet,” Addleton said. “We’ll adjust as we’re told to adjust.”

Any decision to postpone the election would have to come down from the state, the city manager said.

“That may very well happen,” Addleton said, “but we’re going off of what we know now.”

Whoever is elected in May will fill the unexpired term of former Mayor Booker Gainor, who was disqualified from office earlier this month after qualifying to run for a seat in the state legislature. Gainor’s term was set to expire in December 2021.

The winner of the election will be sworn in at the next regularly scheduled city council meeting, barring a runoff.

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