By Jean A. Flanagan
From a political standpoint, 2016 promises to be a big year. Public offices from the local level all the way to the President of the United States are up for grabs.
Running for office is not a decision to be made lightly. Certain offices have residency or educational requirements. All candidates for public office must complete an application or Certificate of Announcement and include a filing fee.
The Certificate of Announcement is available from the West Virginia Secretary of State or the County Clerk, if the office is within one county.
“People who come to this office to file get a packet of information including financial reporting forms,” said Hardy County Clerk Gregg Ely. “The financial reporting forms must be filled out and filed within 60 days after the Primary Election.”
The filing period for the 2016 Primary Election begins on Monday, Jan. 11 and ends at midnight on Saturday, Jan. 30. “The application must be postmarked by Jan. 30,” Ely said.[private]
This year, several offices were designated as nonpartisan, which means the candidates do not have to align themselves with any political party. In the past, only Board of Education members and Conservation District Supervisors were nonpartisan positions.
Beginning with the 2016 election, Justices of the Supreme Court, Circuit Court Judges, Family Court Judges and Magistrates are also nonpartisan. Those positions will be decided with the May 10 Primary Election.
“Anyone who files for a judicial or magistrate office must declare whether they are filing in Division 1 or Division 2,” Ely said. “Those were designations assigned by the Chief Judge of the Circuit Court.”
In Hardy County one of the two 22nd Circuit Court Judge seats is open since the Honorable Charles Parsons has said he would not seek reelection. A Circuit Judge serves an eight-year term.
The 25th Family Court Circuit Judge will also be elected. The Honorable Amanda See is the incumbent. The Family Court Judge serves an eight-year term.
Voters will elect two Magistrates in Hardy County. Craig Hose and Shawna Crites are the incumbents. Magistrates serve four-year terms.
Two of the five Board of Education positions are up for election. Loy Kesner and Nancy Hahn are the current members holding those positions. Board of Education members serve four-year terms.
The Conservation District Supervisor position must be elected. Ronald Miller is the incumbent. The Conservation District supervisor serves a four-year term.
Candidates for other local public offices are determined, first with a Primary and then a General Election. There are four recognized political parties in West Virginia – Democrat, Republican, Libertarian and Mountain. Candidates may also declare as Independent – or “no party affiliation.”
One of the Hardy County Commission seats is open because incumbent J. Michael Teets said he will not seek reelection. The county commission candidate must resident in either the Moorefield, Capon or Lost River District. The county commissioners serve six-year terms.
Also to be elected are the County Clerk, Circuit Clerk, Prosecuting Attorney, Sheriff, Assessor and Surveyor. The County Clerk and Circuit Clerk serve six-year terms. The Prosecuting Attorney, Sheriff, Assessor and Surveyor serve four-year terms.
Potential voters may register until Tuesday, April 19, unless they are military and/or homeland security officers who have recently moved into the area. “Those people can register up to May 9, but they must show documentation,” Ely said.
Anyone wishing to vote with an absentee ballot must apply for one.
“We will start receiving applications from military absentees on Jan. 1,” Ely said. “All other absentee applications we’ll start receiving Feb. 16 through May 4.”
Early voting begins on April 27 and continues through May 7. In Hardy County, the only early voting poll is located at the Courthouse.
“We are always looking for poll workers,” Ely said. “Poll workers are paid for their training and paid for their work on election day.”
For information about filing for candidacy or registering to vote, contact the County Clerk’s office at 304-530-0250.[/private]