Municipal-level races to be determined Nov. 3
Qualifying for vacant seats on both the Adairsville City Council and Euharlee City Council wrapped up last week, with a grand total of eight individuals securing their names on Bartow County ballots this fall.
No less than six individuals qualified to vie for the Adairsville City Council seat made vacant by Buddy Bagley’s resignation earlier this year
. Those candidates include Taylor Forsyth, Ahmad Hall, John F. Harper, Brandey Jenkins, Sonya Nice and Susan Satterfield.
“Susan had filed the paperwork, but because she got married last week, she is having a hiccup with the name change,” said Adairsville City Clerk Lisa Donald. “She has to wait until the marriage certificate is processed to be officially qualified.”
Donald said the City certainly did not foresee so many individuals throwing their names into the race for the open council seat.
“When council member Bagley resigned, we suspected there might be interest in this seat mainly because it was an open seat and no one had to run against an incumbent,” she said. “We had several people express interest and ask questions, I was still a little surprised at the large number of candidates that have qualified.”
The field of challengers isn't quite as vast in Euharlee. There, just two individuals qualified as candidates for the council seat made vacant by Tracy Queen’s resignation in June
— Greg Free and John Ronald Scifers.
As Bartow County Elections Supervisor Joseph Kirk noted, the charters for each municipality stipulate different rules for determining local elections victors and handling runoffs.
"Adairsville elects their council members by majority vote while Euharlee uses plurality," he said. "So in Adairsville one of the candidates has to receive at least 50% plus one vote in order to avoid a runoff — the same as County elections — but in Euharlee whoever gets the most votes wins."
Considering half a dozen candidates are in the running, Donald said it seems likely that a runoff will be required to determine Adairsville's next city council representative.
Dec. 1 is the date specified for State and local office special election runoffs in Georgia.
Ultimately, more than 10,000 Bartow County residents voted in June’s primary elections. Kirk credited that higher than normal turnout to the substantial uptick in mail-in voting amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
At this point, he said it's too early to predict whether or not absentee voting will factor as prominently in the upcoming elections.
“The State is working on a portal to request absentee ballots online instead of doing it through the mail,” he said. “By mail would still be a valid option, but if they get that portal done in time, I’d like to encourage them to vote through the mail and probably see a similar turnout that we saw in June.”
So far, Kirk said he hasn’t heard much from State officials about any new social distancing protocols or other policies meant to address the coronavirus outbreak heading into this fall’s elections.
“Personally, I think the best thing we can do right now is hope for the best but plan for the worst,” he said. “We’re planning right now how we’re going to conduct it with social distancing in place, but hopefully when that time comes we’ll be able to back off that a little bit.”
The 2020 presidential election — and with it, Bartow County’s municipal-level elections — are set for Nov. 3.
Kirk said he has not heard anything from State or federal officials about a contingency plan if that election date is delayed; however, he added that he doesn't find that particular scenario to be probable in the first place.
“I’m not sure what the legal avenue to postpone that election would be, I’m not sure there’s any one person who can postpone that election, it might be a state-by-state decision,” he said. “It would definitely take an act of Congress to make that happen, there is a lot that would go into that.”