Sunday, July 17, 2016

Oconee County Election Superintendent Issues Call For Special Election For Board Of Commissioners Vacancy

Qualifying Aug. 1-3

Oconee County Election Superintendent Pat Hayes has issued a call for a special election to fill the vacancy in the Board of Commissioners created when John Daniell resigned Post 2 to run for Board chair.

The election to fill out Daniell’s four year term ending in 2018 will be held on Nov. 8 in conjunction with the general election.

The call was issued on July 11 and appeared in last week’s edition of the county’s legal organ, The Oconee Enterprise.

Earlier this month, it became almost certain that Daniell will become the chairman of the Board of Commissioners, as no one filed a notice of candidacy on July 1 as an independent or candidate from a minor party to have his or her name placed on the ballot in November.

And last Tuesday, Chuck Williams, representing the 119th Georgia House District, almost certainly was reelected to his seat, as neither of the two candidates who had said they intended to oppose him got enough signatures to have the name on the ballot.

Someone still can file a notice of intention to be a write-in candidate--by Sept. 6--for any of the county offices.

Special Election

Qualifying for the BOC Post 2 position will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 1 and 2 and from 9 a.m. to noon on Aug. 3.

Click To Enlarge

The qualifying fee is $594.42.

Georgia code specifies that “Candidates in special elections for partisan offices shall be listed alphabetically on the ballot and may choose to designate on the ballot their party affiliation. The party affiliation selected by a candidate shall not be changed following the close of qualifying.”

Georgia code also states that “no candidate shall be nominated for public office in any primary or special primary or elected to public office in any election or special election unless such candidate shall have received a majority of the votes cast to fill such nomination or public office.”

If no candidate receives a majority of the votes cast on Nov. 8 for the Post 2 position, a special election runoff “between the candidates receiving the two highest numbers of votes” will be held on Dec. 6.

Hendrix And Houser

Pamela Lohr Hendrix, a Watkinsville attorney, filed on March 11 in Atlanta to run as an independent in November for the 119th District of the Georgia House of Representatives.

Ronald E. Houser, a retired attorney living in Riverhaven subdivision off Mars Hill Road, had sought to be listed as a Constitution Party candidate for the same spot.

Each was required to obtain 1,700 signatures from residents of the 119th House District, which includes all of Oconee County except three northeastern precincts and eastern Clarke County.

The deadline for filing those signatures, which represent 5 percent of the registered voters in the district, was noon on July 12.

Houser told me last week he got about a quarter of the signatures he needed, but, when he realized in early June he was not going to get the needed number, he stopped trying and never actually qualified.

Hendrix told me, also last week, that when she learned Ron Houser was intending to get on the ballot she “backed off and was going to let him seek the seat.”

November Ballot

All of the Oconee County elections are now essentially settled.

The Democratic Party did not put up any candidates, so the Republican Party primary on May 24 determined the candidates whose names will be on the ballot unopposed in November.

Daniell will be listed for the BOC Chair position, Mark Thomas will be listed for Post 1, replacing retiring Commissioner Jim Luke, and Mark Saxon will be listed for his current Post 4 position.

BOC Chairman Melvin Davis also is retiring.

Confusion Over Runoff

Voter registration for the Nov. 8 election ends on Oct. 11.

Advance voting will be held from Oct. 17 to Nov. 4, with Saturday voting on Oct. 29.

In earlier stories I indicated that no runoff would be needed for the special election to fill the BOC Chair slot, based on information I had been given at the time.

The July 11 call for the special election mentions a runoff, so I spent time this evening searching the Georgia Code, which makes it clear that the runoff is necessary unless someone gets a majority in the special election.

I apologize for the error.

NOTE: An earlier version of this report said the call for the special election was issued on Oct. 11. It was issued on July 11. I apologize for the silly mistake, for which I have no explanation.

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