At a press conference this afternoon, Rachel Plattus ’09 will formally announce her plans to run in next year’s elections for Ward 1 alderman, a position currently held by Nick Shalek ’05.

Plattus — the Registrar of Voters for the Yale College Democrats, a vocalist and a ballet dancer — is the first candidate to enter the race. She declined to comment further on her candidacy until after her afternoon press conference, which will be held in the Saybrook Common Room.

Shalek declined to comment last week as to whether he will be running for reelection.

Her announcement comes 11 months before the next general election, which is unusually early compared to past years. But the recent addition of an April 11 endorsement vote for Ward 1 Democrats has pushed forward the start of campaigning to December or January instead of March or April.

In prior elections, the Ward 1 Democratic Town Committee has endorsed a candidate in a closed-door session, but last week they announced that an additional election will be held to allow more voters to participate in the endorsement process. Historically, with the recent exception of Shalek, who ran as an independent, the recipient of the Democrats’ endorsement has won the November general election as well.

Melina Cordero ’09, Plattus’ suitemate, said she was pleasantly surprised by Plattus’ decision to run and said she thinks Plattus would make an informed leader with a “passion that will inspire a lot of students and New Haven natives.”

“I am so happy to hear that she’s interested in running — I will support her 110 percent and have absolute faith in her abilities,” Cordero said. “She’s… dedicated to so many diverse things. And no matter how busy she is, she reads the New Haven Register every day. That I can promise because she has a huge pile of them about four feet high in her bedroom right now.”

Under the new rules, candidates interested in running as Democrats for the Ward 1 aldermanic seat need only to collect 80 signatures, notify the Ward 1 committee co-chairs and file the requisite paperwork with the Connecticut Secretary of State’s office. In order to allow candidates of diverse socioeconomic backgrounds to run, campaign financing for the April election has been limited to donations, including personal ones, of no more than $100 per person.

Plattus, a graduate of the Hopkins School, is a New Haven native. Her father, Alan Plattus, is a professor of urban design at the School of Architecture and is working on the Gateway Project in downtown New Haven.