The board’s declaration means Ward 5 can begin the process of replacing Harry Thomas Jr. (Jahi Chikwendiu/THE WASHINGTON POST)

The D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics met this morning to officially declare the vacancy in the Ward 5 seat and set the special election date, said board spokeswoman Alysoun McLaughlin.

A handful of candidates have declared their intention to run for the seat; McLaughlin said they will be able to pick up ballot petitions in the coming days. The board has told the D.C. Council that the election’s cost will be $318,000, she said.

In other action today, the board approved rule changes that will allow city voters to consider provisions of the recent ethics bill requiring changes to the District charter.

McLaughlin said voters in the Nov. 6 General Election will vote separately on two charter changes contemplated by the ethics bill — a provision allowing council members to expel one of their own, and a provision disqualifying elected officials convicted of a felony while in office.