Candidates affiliated with one of the two major political parties will qualify to run for office in two weeks, but it's a little more complicated for candidates wishing to run as independents.
Candidates with a party affiliation need only file declarations of candidacy and pay qualifying fees to their parties between 9 a.m. May 23 and noon May 25, Edwards said.
But to qualify as an independent, a prospective candidate must follow a different process, with a slightly more laborious set of rules.
Independent candidates file directly with the board of elections, at 1815 Gloucester St., Brunswick, between 9 a.m. July 30 and noon Aug. 3, Edwards said. They pay the same fees as politically affiliated candidates, but they must also assemble a petition of registered voters who support their candidacy.
The number of signatures required depends on the office a candidate is seeking, Edwards said. The signatures must represent at least 5 percent of registered voters from the last general election for the office, Edwards said.
The first day of qualifying for partisan primaries in Glynn County ended with 18 Republicans and one Democrat formally entering the local political arena.
Three incumbent Republicans qualified to try to keep their school board seats. Ray Snow qualified for his District 1 seat, John Madala for District 3 and Jerry Mancil for At-large Post 2.
One incumbent and six others qualified for Glynn County Commission races Wednesday.
Incumbent Commissioner Bob Coleman qualified for his At-large Post 2 seat. Challenging him to date are retired Glynn County administrative employee Joyce Crosby Deloach and business owner John Terris.
Veterans advocate Mike Browning, who previously announced his intention to run, qualified for the District 1 commission seat. Commissioner Amy Callaway, the incumbent, is not seeking reelection.
The second day of qualifying for July 31 primaries brought more candidates out of the political woodwork Thursday.
Four candidates joined four others in the contest for the Glynn County Board of Education.
Former Brunswick High School teacher Ingrid Metz and former education board member Earl Perry qualified to face off against incumbent Ray Snow in District 1. All the District 1 candidates are Republican.
There's a guaranteed school board election since Dee Rogers qualified to run as a Republican for the District 5 school board seat. She will run against incumbent Venus Holmes, a Democrat.
Republican school board at large Post 2 incumbent Jerry Mancil will face opposition from Larry Lunch, who qualified as a Republican Thursday.
* District 1 (North Glynn)
Clifford Adams, longshoreman
At the close of qualifying Friday for the July 31 party primaries and nonpartisan elections, Republicans continue to dominate politics in Brunswick and the Golden Isles.
Business owner Gary Cook joined insurance agent Allen Booker Friday as a Democratic candidate for the Glynn County Commission District 5 seat. Incumbent Democrat Jerome Clark is not seeking re-election.
Cook or Booker will in November face one of three Republicans challenging for the seat -- Anna Hall, a Jekyll Island Authority communications specialist, Robbie Tucker, a business owner, or Tashawnta Wells, a Habitat for Humanity employee.
Glynn County Board of Education District 5 incumbent Venus Holmes is unopposed as a Democrat, but she will face unopposed Republican Darylynne "Dee" Rogers in November.
Audrey Stewart, chair of the Glynn County Democratic Party, says she was disappointed that more Democratic candidates didn't decide to run for offices. She said some possibly were hindered by professional commitments.
Gary Cook is a Democrat, but if he wasn't running for political office, he might consider voting in a different primary on July 31.
There's a reason Cook feels that way. The majority of contested races - including a number of ones Democrats will likely not get an opportunity to decide - will be on the Republican ballot.
Glynn County voters who pick up a Democratic ballot during the July 31 general primary will have no say in who becomes the next Glynn County sheriff.
Democrat voters will also have no input on who becomes the Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney, the next Glynn County Superior Court Clerk, or who will sit in 14 other elected offices.
That's because those offices are among 17 races in the 2012 election cycle that will likely be determined solely by Republicans in the primary, unless independent candidates jump through a few hurdles to qualify for the November elections.
More than 1,200 of the 7,500 backlogged civil or criminal cases pending in Glynn County State Court are more than five years old, and all five state court judge candidates know whoever wins the July 31 nonpartisan election has his work cut out for him.
The candidates met Thursday for a forum hosted by College of Coastal Georgia to field audience questions and share their views on the criminal justice system.
Judicial candidates Grant Buckley, Bart Altman, Alan Tucker, Vince Sowerby and Wallace Harrell III shared ways to relieve the existing case backlog and effectively manage a caseload destined to increase once new judicial rules go into effect.
Candidate Alan Tucker, the only candidate to indicate the court is currently not running properly, said his solution for relieving the backlog is simple.
"What it's going to take is a judge who's willing to go work for 40 to 50 hours a week, five days a week, (hold) night court. That's the only way this court's going to deal with it's backlog," Tucker said.
Voters who say they don't have time during the work week to participate in county elections, but still want to vote early before the July 31 party primaries and special elections, no longer have an excuse.
Most of the contests are in the Republican primary, with those voters selecting candidates for sheriff, district attorney and several county commission and board of education seats who will appear on the November ballot without Democratic opposition.
Both Republican and Democratic primary voters as well as nonpartisan voters who don't vote in either party primary, will actually elect Superior Court judges and a State Court judge, solicitor and clerk. They will also decide the fates of a 1 percent transportation sales tax and a proposed restructuring of the Brunswick-Glynn County Joint Water and Sewer Commission board.
Glynn County Elections Supervisor Cindy Johnson says turnout for Saturday voting is usually high, and is convenient for persons who can't make it to polls during the work week or on the day of the primaries and elections.
"Saturday voting will be good for people, and we usually see that it's very popular," Johnson said. "We really hope to get everyone out, and encourage them to vote."
The July 31 partisan primaries are likely to steal the thunder from the Nov. 6 general election in Glynn County, and the nonpartisan special elections will only decide one contested race.
Republican candidates dominate the District 1, District 2 and at-large posts for the county commission and board of education races. Local races for probate court judge, clerk of superior court, sheriff, tax commissioner, county surveyor, coroner and chief magistrate are also under the control of members of the Grand Old Party.
The District 3 Georgia Senate race, state House of Representative Districts 167, 179 and 180 contests, and the showdown for the next Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney also involve Republican candidates only.
Voters choosing a Democratic ballot will pick only candidates for the partisan District 5 Glynn County Commission and board of education races and select a hopeful to unseat 20-year Republican incumbent Rep. Jack Kingston from Georgia's 1st District post in U.S. Congress.
All voters who hit the polls July 31 or who cast early votes will participate in the nonpartisan special elections. Those elections will decide who will become the next Glynn County State Court judge, the only contested post in the nonpartisan election.
c Chuck Eaton incumbent
c Matt Reid
Public Service Commission
c Pam Davidson
Of the nearly 45,000 registered voters in Glynn County, some 2,000 have already made their way to the ballot box in two weeks of early voting before the July 31 primaries and special elections.
"It's pretty typical numbers if you look at last week," Johnson said. "People are still getting used to it, but I suspect (Saturday voting) will be better in November." The Nov. 6 general election will include the presidential election, which usually brings out more voters.
This is only the second time Glynn County has offered Saturday voting.
Johnson expects the final week of early voting - now through Friday - will yield higher numbers. In addition to offering early voting since July 9 at the elections office on Gloucester Street, early voting began Monday at Fire Station No. 2 on Demere Road on St. Simons Island. As of 1:20 p.m. Monday, 140 voters had cast ballots there.
If the past is any indication, that's just the beginning. "This week is always a big week," she said. "The turnout will be higher at St. Simons Island."