The March 24 presidential primary will be Georgia’s first election of 2020, but potential candidates for Bulloch County offices must also make decisions by March in order to appear on the May 19 county and state primary ballot.
Qualifying week for local Democratic, Republican, nonpartisan and independent candidates begins at 9 a.m. March 2 and concludes at noon March 6. To run for a Bulloch County office, paperwork must be filed and fees paid at the Board of Elections and Registration office, Suite 201 in the Bulloch County Annex, 113 North Main St., Statesboro.
All countywide elected offices are due for election this year to four-year terms. Qualifying fees are generally 3% of the annual base salary for the job.
The fees will be $3,816.01 for solicitor general of the State Court, $2,347.42 for sheriff, $2,034 for clerk of courts and also $2,034 for tax commissioner, $630 for coroner and $100 for county surveyor, according to the list provided by Bulloch County Election Supervisor Patricia Lanier Jones.
The chair of the Bulloch County Board of Commissioners, elected countywide and currently help by Roy Thompson, is also up for election this year. So are commission seats 1A, currently held by Ray Mosley; 2A, currently held by Curt Deal; and 2C, currently held by Jappy Stringer.
Qualifying fees are $600 for the county commission chair and $225 for each of the district seats.
For each of the above mentioned offices, the Democratic Party and Republican primaries May 19 will be the first step, except that independent candidates may qualify through a petition process and go directly to the Nov. 3 general election.
In addition to filing a notice of candidacy March 2-6, independent candidates must file a nomination petition between 9 a.m. June 22 and noon July 14, Jones indicated.
Judgeships and BOE
The same May 19 main election and potential July 21 runoff that include the party primaries also serve as the nonpartisan general election for nonpartisan offices. These include local judgeships and seats on the Bulloch County Board of Education.
Qualifying fees are $3,980.05 for State Court judge, $2,034 for Probate Court judge and also $2,034 for Magistrate Court judge.
Four of the eight Board of Education seats are due for election. These are the seats in District 1, currently held by Cheri Wagner, District 3, currently held by Dr. Stuart Tedders, District 7, currently held by Heather Mims, and District 8, currently held by Maurice Hill.
The qualifying fee for a Board of Education candidacy is $72.
All of these local offices are up for election in a year that Georgia has purchased a new touchscreen electronic and printed paper ballot voting system for use in all counties. The state is under a federal court order to put use this system for all elections this year, beginning here with the March 24 presidential preference primary.
So far, the local election office has received only a couple of the systems for training and demonstration. Expect to read more about these machines in a separate story.
Feb. 24 will be the last date to register to vote or change voting addresses before the March 24 presidential preference primary, with early voting slated to begin March 2.
Again, the only thing on the March ballots – for which voters must choose a party – will be candidates seeking their parties’ nomination for president of the United States.
Big election year
Beyond the March presidential primary and the May 19 general primary and nonpartisan general election and its possible July 21 runoff, other elections this year include the definite Nov. 3 general election and its possible Dec. 1 runoff.
Through the general primaries and general election, Georgia will elect both of its U.S. senators, one to a full six-year term and the other to complete the term of Sen. Johnny Isakson, now retired. All seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are up for election in their districts, as are all seats in the Georgia General Assembly.