UPDATE (Jan. 25, 2017, 7:00 p.m.): While community members were still gathering signatures, the Bakersfield City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved a special election to fill Tkac's seat. It wasn't immediately known when the election will be held.
Over 500 signatures have been collected to hold a special election for the councilmember position representing Ward 5.
The position was previously held by Jeff Tkac, elected last November. Tkac took his own life earlier in January.
The City Council has the option to appoint the seat or call a special election.
The citizens living in Ward 5 have four weeks to prepare a petition and submit it to the clerk calling for a special election.
Residents in Ward 5 would need 4,729 signatures on a petition to call for a special election, 25% of the total votes during November’s election.