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How to Leave an Elected Government Job

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Resigning from a position you've been elected to fill can be more complicated than leaving an ordinary job. State and local laws generally spell out a process you must follow to formalize your resignation. But elected officials have the same rights as anyone else to leave a job, such as offers of employment and health or family reasons. In most cases, the steps you must take to leave an elected position aren't time-consuming.

Notify your local election officer. The local election officer will know the laws regarding resignation for your specific office. Local election officers go by several titles, including city clerk, county clerk, supervisor of elections, director of elections, registrar of voters and secretary of state.

Write a resignation letter. The local election officer will tell you the appropriate person who should receive your resignation letter. It could be the chair of the political party you belong to or the governor of your state. Your resignation letter should include a definite date when you'll be leaving the position.

Write a public response for voters and the media. Resigning an elected position is not an everyday occurrence. The people who elected you may ask questions about why you're leaving the position. You're the only person who'll know how much to disclose. Depending upon the position you hold, members of the media may seek a response from you.

Submit your resignation letter. Your resignation is not official until you've submitted a formal letter. Commit yourself to the decision because once the letter's submitted, it may be difficult to withdraw your resignation. Keep a copy of the resignation letter for your files.


If you have difficulty finding your local election officer, check your county courthouse or city hall.


If you're resigning because of alleged wrongdoings, don't include any information in the resignation letter that could be used against you in legal proceedings. Asking an attorney to review your resignation letter is helpful.


Dustin Hill is the former owner and publisher of a Midwest business journal and has been reporting on small business since 1992. He has a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Kansas and currently works as a government and business reporter for a daily newspaper.

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