Local News

5/9/2012

Independent candidates face challenges

By LOUIE BROGDON

The Brunswick News

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.

Becoming a candidate and qualifying as a Democrat or Republican in the July 31 party primaries is a relatively straightforward process, according to Tina Edwards, assistant supervisor of elections at the Glynn County Board of Elections.

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.

For instance, an independent candidate running for the at-large post of the Glynn County Commission, or the board of education, or any countywide partisan election, must have 2,274 signatures, which is equal to five percent of the 45,473 voters who were registered in 2008.

An independent seeking a District 1 post for the board of education or the commission will need 558 signatures; District 2 calls for 187 signatures; and a District 5 independent will need 312 signatures. The District 3 post for the board of education is also up for grabs this year, and an independent seeking that office would need 540 signatures.

Races ahead

Glynn County offices up for election this year and qualifying fees for party primary and independent candidates:

* Board of Education: $108 for At-Large, Post 2; District 1; District 3 and District 5

* Clerk of Superior Court: $2034

* Coroner: $725.66

* County Commission: $225 for At-Large, Post 2; District 1; District 3 and District 5

* County Surveyor: No fee required

* Magistrate Judge: $2,034

* Probate Judge: $2,034

* Sheriff: $2,347.42

* Tax Commissioner: $2,034