Election Is ASAP
Published 4:46 pm Thursday, July 10, 2014
FARMVILLE — Forget “on your marks.”
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Residents interested in running in the special At-Large town council election should see Prince Edward County Voter Registrar Dale Bolt now.
Right this minute.
Once the judge signs the necessary special election order, candidates will have just five working days to file and qualify.
Five working days to gather 125 signatures of qualified voters and turn everything in to Bolt.
And the judge could sign those papers today.
Town council, meanwhile, unanimously appointed Main Street businessperson Pam Butler, during their July meeting Wednesday night, to serve until the special election determines who finishes out David Whitus’ unexpired term, which runs through June 30, 2016.
Whitus was elected mayor in May. Butler, who could not be reached for comment, is not expected to run in the special election.
Tommy Pairet, who made the motion to appoint Butler, said she is “absolutely not interested” in running.
Town council was specifically trying to avoid appointing anyone who might run in the special election in order to avoid creating any kind of electoral advantage. Five individuals had formally expressed an interest in the At-Large seat’s unexpired term.
Council member Donald L. Hunter posed the question to Pairet, who added that Butler “has no desire to do anything” but serve until the special election can be held.
Council members, determined to have the special election as soon as possible, are giving the judge three election dates from which to choose: August 19, August 26 and September 9. Any of those dates would find Butler serving for one work session and one regular town council meeting, assuming the election winner is sworn-in in time for the September 10 monthly meeting.
Bolt told The Herald on Thursday that anyone interested in running could begin circulating the petitions immediately, prior to knowing the election date, but that he needs to tell them how to do so.
“They probably need to talk to me about that,” he explained, “because there are certain things they can do that are material and are not material, where we can leave off the not material things and still get by without putting a date on it for the election until we know.
“Because that’s going to be the hardest part—to gather 125 valid signatures. So they’re going to need people to help them, for one thing. One person’s not going to be able to get all their 125 signatures, I don’t think, and get them done,” Bolt said.
So, yes, candidates can begin circulating petitions right now if they leave off the election date and add it later after the judge has made the decision.
But whoa unto any candidate who circulates a petition with an election date that is wrong.
“If they put a date of an election on there and circulate it and it’s not the right date,” Bolt warned, “then that makes that whole petition no good. But if they don’t put a date on there…it’s non-material at that point. They can add the date later.”
Which is why any would-be candidate needs to see him.
“Yeah,” he said, “I think so.”
As for the short five-day window to qualify, Hunter observed, “talk about hitting the ground running.”
And Mayor Whitus noted, “the clock starts ticking.”
Town Council Appointments
Wednesday night’s meeting also saw town council reappoint councilman Armstead D. Reid as Vice-Mayor, Gerald Spates as Town Manager, Donald Blessing as Town Attorney, Carol Anne Seal as Town Treasurer, Douglas Mooney as Chief of Police, Phillip Moore as Building Official, and Lisa Hricko as Town Clerk and Equal Opportunity Counselor.
Moore was also reappointed Fire Marshal.
And Andrew Goss was reappointed Fire Chief.