PORTLAND — Shortly after 9 a.m. today, City Councilor Jill Duson handed in 481 signatures to the city clerk’s office to get herself onto the November mayoral ballot.

And with that, the Portland mayor’s race had its first official candidate.

Six of 20 possible candidates handed in their signatures today, including incumbent Mayor Nicholas Mavodones. It was the first possible day to hand in signatures, but the rest of the candidates have until Aug. 29 to do so. Candidates must collect at least 300 valid signatures to get on the ballot.

Duson didn’t return a phone message today seeking comment, but in a press release, she said getting her signatures in early “reflects my commitment to action.” Mavodones, who handed in the maxmimum-allowable 500 signatures, said this is the first step in a lengthy process.

“I’m going to continue what I’ve been doing,” Mavodones said, adding he will run on his long public-service record. “That’s build a grassroots organizations – I had volunteers help collect signatures – and also knock on doors, meet with people and let the voters get to know me.”

In addition to Mavodones and Duson, City Councilor David Marshall, Somali immigrant and businessman Hamza Haadoow, retired sea merchant Peter Bryant and former state representative and Green Party champion John Eder also handed in their signatures today.

The city clerk must now inspect whether all of the candidates’ collected signatures belong to registered Portland voters. That process will likely take several days, although the clerk already verified Duson’s signatures. She will be on the ballot, said Nicole Clegg, the director of the communications for the city.

If any of the candidates don’t have 300 valid signatures after the clerk’s inspection, they will have until Aug. 29 to collect more.