Special Election Aug. 19

Published 3:55 pm Tuesday, July 15, 2014

FARMVILLE — The special election to fill the unexpired At-Large town council term of David E. Whitus will be August 19.

A Writ of Election was issued in the circuit court of Prince Edward County on Monday.

Anyone planning to run and qualify to appear on the ballot has five working days to gather the necessary 125 signatures from qualified voters and present all necessary paperwork to Prince Edward County Voter Registrar Dale Bolt.

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Next Monday, July 21 at 5 p.m. is the deadline to file, Bolt said Monday afternoon.

The unexpired term of Whitus, who served as one of two At-Large council members for the past 16 years, runs through June 30, 2016.

The voter registrar and potential candidates have a quick turnaround because town council wanted the special election scheduled as quickly as possible. Town council gave the judge three dates as a preference from which to choose: August 19, August 26 and September 9.

So, it is sooner rather than later.

“Council was unanimous in its decision in wanting an election at the earliest possible date,” Mayor Whitus told The Herald in a Tuesday morning email. “Council members thought it wise to allow voters to decide who serves on council and the best way to do that was have an election. Council was pleased to see so much interest in the seat and having the voters pick the next councilperson was in the forefront of their minds.”

A special election was always possible as the mayoral election approached. After Whitus was elected mayor in a three-way race on the May 6, it became a certainty. But town council could do nothing to fill the vacancy, per law, until the vacancy actually occurred. That happened on July 1, when Whitus became mayor.

Last week, Town council appointed Main Street businessperson Pam Butler to serve through the special election, which means she will attend both the August work session and the regular August monthly meeting.

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.

Butler, town council member Tommy Pairet said last week as council discussed her nomination, is “absolutely not interested” in running in the special election.

In an email to The Herald, Butler writes, “I do want to help our town anyway that I can. This is a great place to be!”

And she adds, “I do not plan on running for council.”

The last day to register to vote in this town-wide election is August 5.

In-person absentee voting will end on August 16, with mail absentee voting having an August 12 deadline.

“Once we start the absentees, the in-person will run up until the Saturday before the election, like we always do,” Bolt said. “We’re always open the Saturday before every election.

“The mail (absentee voting) will end on the 12th of August. The applications must be received by the 12th of August, which is the Tuesday before” the election, he said.