Qualifying period next week for District 71 special election
By SARAH FAY CAMPBELL
Qualifying for the Georgia House District 71 special election is only a few days away, as is the voter registration deadline.
Qualifying for the seat, which became vacant following the withdrawal of State Rep. Elect Robert Stokely, R-Sharpsburg, will be Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.
The election will be Feb. 5. A runoff, if needed, will be March 5.
So far, only two prospective candidates have officially announced their intent to run fro the seat.
They are Darryl Marmon, who unsuccessfully ran against Stokely for the seat in 2011, and David Stover, who was a candidate for Coweta County Commission District 3 in 2010.
Coweta Elections Superintendent Jane Scoggins said Thursday she has gotten quite a few calls from people interested in running for the seat.
However, some of those people actually didn't live in the district, though they thought they did.
Scoggins encourages anyone who is interested in running to double check which district they are in. The easiest way is to visit the Georgia Secretary of State's My Voter Page sit, at www.sos.georgia.gov/mvp .
Candidates for the Georgia House of Representatives must be at least 21 years old, and must have been citizens of Georgia for at least two years. You must live in the district and, according to state law, must, at the time of election, "have been a resident of the territory embraced within such district for at least one year preceding such time."
That esstentially means that a candidate must have lived in the district for at least one year, according to Scoggins.
The qualifying fee is $400. A candidate who is unable to pay the qualifying fee can file a pauper's affidavit.
Qualifying is held at the Secretary of State's elections office, located in the Floyd Towers across from the state capitol. The address is 802 West Tower, 2 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, SE, Atlanta, GA 30334.
Qualifying hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday; and 8 a.m. to noon on Wednesday.
Candidates can declare their party affiliation while qualifying, but do not have to.
Voters who wish to vote in the election but are not registered have until the close of business on Monday to register to vote. You can register to vote at the Coweta Voter Registration office, 22 East Broad Street, Newnan, or you can register by mail. For more information, visit www.sos.georgia.gov/elections or call 770-254-2615.
Because of the short time frame for the election, there will be limited early voting.
Scoggins said her intent is to have at least a week of early voting, starting on Saturday, Jan. 26. "If it looks like I could get it ready before then, I will start before then," Scoggins said. "It all depends on when the state gets the information to me," she said. "I want to start as soon as I can."
Paper absentee ballots will be able to be mailed out as soon as they are available. "I've already contacted my ballot printer," Scoggins said. "I have a great ballot printer," she said. "As soon as I can get him the database... he said he could do them in a day."
There will be 11 polling places in Coweta County open for the election on Feb. 5. Scoggins estimated the cost of the special election to be $24,000 to $25,000.