This is a follow up to How can we best judge who has the skills to be a moderator? . Two moderators have recently resigned, and they say there will be another election soon. Some recent elections had problems that candidates "self-nominated" extremely close to the deadline, with one particular example which led to the thread linked above. The community needs to find a way to weigh concerns with candidates before the election process.
Is there an technical means to require candidates to self-nominate earlier, or to put a pause between the nomination phase and the voting phase? I have heard rumors of a "primary" system in the SE software, but I am not sure how to make it happen.
Answers from SE developers about exactly what influence the community has on the election process, and about the "primary" option, would be particularly welcome.
Edit: at the request of Shog9, I have also tagged this as feature-request.