Election season is in full swing, with experts predicting record turnouts across the country. In addition to the presidential election and other state elections, there are numerous local elections voters will decide.
All of the following offices will appear on the ballot: Pickens Commission Chair (currently held by Rob Jones); District 2 Commissioner (currently held by Becky Denney); Sheriff (currently held by Donnie Craig); Probate Judge (currently held by Judge David Lindsey); Magistrate Judge (following a recent arrest, Judge Allen Wigington has announced his resignation from the
position); Tax Commissioner (incumbent Darrin Satterfield announced in a letter this week Page 5A that he will not seek re-election); Coroner (currently held by Mark Godfrey); Clerk of Court (currently held by Jennifer Jordan) Board of Education Post 1 (Donna Enis); and Board of Education Post 4 (Sue Finley).
At the state level, incumbent State Rep. Rick Jasperse will face Charlotte Lee Williamson in the GOP primary.
Candidate qualifying will run March 2 – March 6. The Pickens GOP will hold their qualifying at the Pickens County Courthouse Courtroom A from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. that Monday through Thursday, and 9 a.m. to noon that Friday. Independents can register at the Pickens Office of Elections & Registration Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Friday 9 a.m. to noon. Pickens Elections Supervisor Julianne Robertson said she has not heard about qualifying times or locations from the Pickens Democratic Party at this point.
Qualifying for those running in either the Republican or Democratic parties must be at a different location this year because early voting will be underway for the presidential election at the local elections office, March 2 – March 20 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Roberts said this is the first time this has happened since she has been employed with elections, but that her office is responsible for qualifying Independent candidates.
For anyone who wishes to qualify as an Independent, that candidate must collect original, valid signatures from five percent of the number of active voters at the time of the most recent election that same position appeared on the ballot. For commission chair, for example, the number of signatures needed would be a calculation from the 2016 elections, or 885 signatures. Independent candidates have until July 14 to turn in their signatures to her office, where they would be validated. Validation includes making sure the signatures are from a person registered to vote, as well as a visual comparison of those signatures to be sure they match.
As of press time, the following candidates have publicly announced they will run for office: Commission Chair – Rob Jones (incumbent), David Shouse, and Kris Stancil; Sheriff – Donnie Craig (incumbent) and Chris Tucker; Tax Commissioner – Amy Gibson and Daniel Reeves.
Shouse indicated in his letter of intent that he will run for commission chair as an independent, meaning he would face the winner of the Jones/Stancil GOP primary in November. But, according to the elections office, a letter of intent is not binding and he could change his mind before qualifying ends.