Code of the District of Columbia

§ 1–204.21. Election, qualifications, vacancy, and compensation.

(a) There is established the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia; and the Mayor shall be elected by the registered qualified electors of the District.

(b) The Mayor, established by subsection (a) of this section, shall be elected, on a partisan basis, for a term of 4 years beginning at noon on January 2nd of the year following his election.

(c)(1) No person shall hold the Office of Mayor unless he: (A) Is a qualified elector; (B) has resided and been domiciled in the District for 1 year immediately preceding the day on which the general or special election for Mayor is to be held; (C) has not been convicted of a felony while holding the office; and (D) is not engaged in any employment (whether as an employee or as a self-employed individual) and holds no public office or position (other than his employment in and position as Mayor), for which he is compensated in an amount in excess of his actual expenses in connection therewith, except that nothing in this clause shall be construed as prohibiting such person, while holding the Office of Mayor, from serving as a delegate or alternate delegate to a convention of a political party nominating candidates for President and Vice President of the United States, or from holding an appointment in a reserve component of an armed force of the United States other than a member serving on active duty under a call for more than 30 days. The Mayor shall forfeit his office upon failure to maintain the qualifications required by this paragraph.

(2) To fill a vacancy in the Office of Mayor, the Board of Elections shall hold a special election in the District on the Tuesday occurring at least 70 days and not more than 174 days after the date on which such vacancy occurs which the Board of Elections determines, based on a totality of the circumstances, taking into account, inter alia, cultural and religious holidays and the administrability of the election, will provide the opportunity for the greatest level of voter participation. The person elected Mayor to fill a vacancy in the Office of Mayor shall take office on the day on which the Board of Elections and Ethics certifies his election, and shall serve as Mayor only for the remainder of the term during which such vacancy occurred. When the Office of Mayor becomes vacant the Chairman shall become Acting Mayor and shall serve from the date such vacancy occurs until the date on which the Board of Elections and Ethics certifies the election of the new Mayor at which time he shall again become Chairman. While the Chairman is Acting Mayor, the Chairman shall receive the compensation regularly paid the Mayor, and shall receive no compensation as Chairman or member of the Council. While the Chairman is Acting Mayor, the Council shall select one of the elected at-large members of the Council to serve as Chairman and one to serve as chairman pro tempore, until the return of the regularly elected Chairman.

(d) The Mayor shall receive compensation, payable in equal installments, at a rate equal to the maximum rate, as may be established from time to time, for level III of the Executive Schedule in § 5314 of Title 5 of the United States Code. Such rate of compensation may be increased or decreased by act of the Council. Such change in such compensation, upon enactment by the Council in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, shall apply with respect to the term of Mayor next beginning after the date of such change. In addition, the Mayor may receive an allowance, in such amount as the Council may from time to time establish, for official, reception, and representation expenses, which he shall certify in reasonable detail to the Council.


(Dec. 24, 1973, 87 Stat. 789, Pub. L. 93-198, title IV, § 421; Aug. 14, 1974, 88 Stat. 458, Pub. L. 93-376, title III, § 306(a); July 18, 2012, 126 Stat. 1133, Pub. L. 112-145, § 2(b); July 31, 2013, D.C. Law 19-124A, § 401(c), 59 DCR 1862.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 1-241.

1973 Ed., § 1-161.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 1-203.03, § 1-204.114, § 1-301.47, § 1-602.02, § 1-611.09, § 1-1001.17, § 2-601, § 38-1201.03, § 39-202, § 47-802, § 47-1401, and § 48-901.02.

Effect of Amendments

Pub. L. 112-145, in subsec. (c)(2), rewrote the first sentence which had read: “To fill a vacancy in the Office of Mayor, the Board of Elections and Ethics shall hold a special election in the District on the 1st Tuesday occurring more than 114 days after the date on which such vacancy occurs, unless the Board of Elections and Ethics determines that such vacancy could be more practicably filled in a special election held on the same day as the next general election to be held in the District occurring within 60 days of the date on which a special election would otherwise have been held under the provisions of this paragraph.”

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-124A substituted “to be held; (C) has not been convicted of a felony while holding the office; and (D) is” for “to be held; and (C) is” in (c)(1).

Cross References

Elections, recall of elected officials, see § 1-1001.17.

Merit system, coverage and limitations, see § 1-602.02.

Office of Mayor, vacancies, see §§ 1-204.01 and 1-204.11.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see §§ 2(b), 3 of Special Election Reform Charter Emergency Amendment Act of 2010 (D.C. Act 18-591, November 3, 2010, 57 DCR 10470).

For temporary (90 day) addition of section, see § 3 of Special Election Reform Charter Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2011 (D.C. Act 19-7, February 11, 2011, 58 DCR 1416).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(b) of Special Election Reform Charter Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2011 (D.C. Act 19-7, February 11, 2011, 58 DCR 1416).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 301(c) of Board of Ethics and Government Accountability Establishment and Comprehensive Ethics Reform Emergency Amendment Act of 2012 (D.C. Act 19-298, January 29, 2012, 59 DCR 683).

For temporary (90 day) addition of section, see § 602(b) of Board of Ethics and Government Accountability Establishment and Comprehensive Ethics Reform Emergency Amendment Act of 2012 (D.C. Act 19-298, January 29, 2012, 59 DCR 683).

Temporary Legislation

Section 2(b) of D.C. Law 18-301, in subsec. (c)(2), substituted “more than seventy days” for “more than one hundred fourteen days”.

Section 3 of D.C. Law 18-301 provided that this act shall apply upon enactment by Congress.

Section 5(b) of D.C. Law 18-301 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.

Effective Dates

Section 3 of Pub. L. 112-145 provided: “Sec. 3. Effective Date. The amendments made by section 2 shall apply with respect to vacancies occurring on or after the enactment of this Act.”

Section 601(j) of D.C. Law 19-124 provided: “(j) Title IV shall apply on its effective date as provided in section 303 of the District of Columbia Home Rule Act, approved December 24, 1973 (87 Stat. 784; D.C. Official Code § 1-203.03).”

Section 601(j) of D.C. Law 19-124 contained an applicability clause for title IV of the Act that stated that title IV, containing section 401, would become law upon its ratification by a majority of the registered qualified electors of the District of Columbia voting in a referendum and following 35 days of congressional review.

Section 702(b) of D.C. Law 19-124 provided that § 401 of the act would become law upon its ratification by a majority of the registered qualified electors of the District of Columbia voting in a referendum and following 35 days of congressional review.

D.C. Law 19-124 became effective on April 27, 2012. Section 401 of that law was ratified by the electors of the District of Columbia in a general and special election held on November 6, 2012, and certified by the District of Columbia Board of Elections on November 29, 2012. Section 401 became effective as law on July 31, 2013, following 35 days of congressional review and assigned Law Number 19-124A. D.C. Law 19-124A, § 401 amended sections 401, 402, and 421 of the District of Columbia Home Rule Act (D.C. Official Code §§ 1-204.01, 1-204.02, and 1-204.21).

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 19-124, § 401: Section 601(j) of D.C. Law 19-124 provided that Title IV of the act shall apply on its effective date as provided in§ 1-203.03; in other words, that D.C. Law 19-124, § 401 shall apply upon its ratification by a majority of the registered qualified electors of the District of Columbia voting in a referendum and following 35 days of congressional review.