Qualification starts today

Hopefuls for Columbus Council, the Muscogee County School Board and the Superior Court bench will cast their names into the ring this week for the November general election.

Qualification for nonpartisan offices starts at 9 a.m. today and stops at noon Friday, said Nancy Boren, executive director of the Muscogee County Office of Elections and Registrations. Those who want to qualify as independents for partisan races also qualify this week.

"If you come in at 1 o’clock on Friday, you've missed it," she said.

Candidates for council posts 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 qualify at Boren’s west wing Government Center office as do spots 1, 3, 5 and 7 on the school board. Those seeking the one State Court judgeship spot also should seek out Boren’s office.

Superior Court bench candidates for the five chairs up for grabs in the Chattahoochee Circuit must travel to Atlanta to qualify.

Candidates must have the qualifying fee — 3 percent of the job’s annual salary — and complete form. They’ll fill out their name address, the amount of time they’ve lived in the county, their precinct and how they want their name to appear on the ballot.

And as long as the check doesn’t bounce, which has happened only once since Boren's been director the candidate is then qualified.

Write-in candidates get qualified by publishing a legal ad in the Ledger-Enquirer no later than Sept. 2. They must then bring the ad to Boren by Sept. 7 and complete a form.

Nonpartisan qualification for the November election takes place just weeks away from the July 15 Democratic and Republican primaries. Absentee voting for that primary began June 2. Voters can cast an absentee ballot in person at Boren’s office, though they’ll need a reason, such as a religious holiday, a disability or a public safety job. They must also show one of six valid forms of ID.

Voters can request absentee ballot applications by mail, online and over the telephone. Once they send in the completed applications, they’ll get their absentee ballots.

Advance voting, when people may vote in person without a reason, is the week of July 7-11.

Voters will have four locations to choose from Boren’s office; the Columbus Public Library; the Frank D. Chester Recreation Center; and Columbus State University’s Cunningham Center for Leadership Development.