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Most county seats up for election

Candidate qualifying March 7-11

    If you’re interested in running for local office you’ll have ample opportunity this year, with 10 county seats up for grabs.
    Local elected offices that will appear on the ballot in 2016 are sheriff, currently held by Donnie Craig; commission chair, held by Rob Jones; district 2 commissioner, held by Becky Denney; tax commissioner, held by Sharon Troglin; clerk of court, held by Gail Brown; probate judge, held by

David Lindsey; magistrate judge, held by Allen Wigington; coroner, held by Kevin Roper; board of education post 4, held by Peggy Andrews; and board of education post 1, held by Mike Cowart.
    Qualifying for these offices is March 7-11.
    “They are going to have to qualify through whatever party they are running with since this is for the primary,” said Pickens County Elections Supervisor Julianne Roberts. “The parties will specify what days and times within that week.”
    Primary elections for these local offices will be on Tuesday, May 24. If a runoff is required, it will be held on Tuesday, July 26. The general election for these offices will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 8 in conjunction with the presidential election.
    Roberts said all local candidates will run as either Republican or Democrat in the primary election in May.
    “You can’t run as an Independent until the General Election in November,” she said.
    Georgia Code requires a candidate to provide a petition with a certain number of signatures if they want to run as an Independent in the November election.
    “Then we have to go through and check every single signature and make sure there aren’t doubles,” Roberts said. “But since I’ve been here there are fewer and fewer candidates running as Independent. In the past it was very common, but Sharon Troglin is the only one left. It’s honestly a lot easier to choose an affiliation and I think people want to know what kind of party values a candidate has.” 
    As a general note, Roberts said there is often confusion for voters about which ballot they should choose in a primary. There are boxes on the ballots that ask the voter to select either Republican, Democrat or Non-Partisan.
    “Some people don’t want to be affiliated with Republican or Democrat, but you have to pick a party, and if you select Non-Partisan all you will be voting for are certain judges, but if you select Republican or Democrat those judges will be included on the ballot, so I encourage people to figure out who their favorite candidate is and select that party.”
    If you mess up and choose the wrong ballot, Roberts said you can get a different party ballot at any point in the process before you select “Cast Ballot” on the screen.
    “We can cancel the ballot and get a different one if voters need us to,” she said. “But once they cast the ballot there’s nothing we can do.”
    Qualifying fees are as follows: sheriff, $1,943.28; commission chair, $1,979.28; district 2 commissioner, $306; tax commissioner, $1,591.05; clerk of court, $1,591.05; probate judge, $1,591.05; magistrate court, $1,591.05; coroner, $401; board of education seats, $50.
    The Pickens County Republican Party can be reached at
770-318-8401 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Learn more at
    The Pickens County Democratic Party can be reached at 706-531-0007 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Learn more at
    Early voting for the presidential primary is February 8-26, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the county elections office. The mandatory Saturday early voting date is February 20 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.   
    The Pickens County Board of Elections and Registration is located at 83 Pioneer Road, Jasper, Ga. 30143. They can be reached at 706-253-8781.