Election qualifying begins Jan. 5

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, December 30, 2008

It will soon be time for interested candidates to qualify for2009’s city elections, City Clerk Mike Jinks said.

While the actual qualifying dates begin on Jan. 1, the cityclerk’s office is not open until Jan. 5, Jinks said, for anyoneinterested in running for the offices of alderman, mayor, chief ofpolice, or city clerk. The final deadline is 5 p.m. March 6.

There are seven aldermen positions, Wards One through Six and anAlderman-at-large position. Jinks said qualifying candidates haveto have lived in their wards for 30 days from election day.

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“You have to be a qualified voter in the district you’llrepresent,” Jinks said, adding that political party candidates mustsubmit a $10 filing fee and a written statement of intent.Independent candidates do not pay a qualifying fee but must file apetition of at least 50 names with the city clerk’s office.

“The party papers, those are turned over to the executivecommittees for the parties, and they verify that the candidates areaffiliated with their parties,” Jinks said. “The fee goes to theparty, not the city.”

The independent candidates, he said, are checked by the cityclerk’s office.

In addition, Jinks said, candidates for city office must beregistered voters in the municipality for which they seek election,have never been convicted of a crime punishable by confinement in apenitentiary, and have never been convicted of a felony in federalcourt or in the court of another state.

Jinks said the Secretary of State’s Municipal ElectionsCandidate Qualifying Guide can be downloaded athttp://www.sos.state.ms.us/elections/2009/. There, candidates cansee a complete list of forms, guidelines and frequently askedquestions about qualifying to run for office.

“If someone told me they’d like to run for office, I’d send themstraight to download that off the internet, or tell them to comepick up a copy from my office,” Jinks said. “Those guidelines areimportant because we don’t want, for any reason, to have to haveanyone contest an election, so we go through these procedures.”

Jinks said the party executive committees, which oversee theprimary elections, will also need to qualify to run, though theywill be elected in the primaries on May 5.

“They have to turn in their qualifying papers just like regularcandidates,” he said. “But they’re elected at the primaries toserve the next four years.”

Jinks said so far while candidates cannot yet qualify, there aresome who have stated their intent to run. He said Brookhaven PoliceChief Pap Henderson will run again, and that Lincoln CountyDistrict One Supervisor Jerry Wilson has indicated an interest inrunning for mayor. Jinks said he will also run for city clerkagain.

Brookhaven Alderman-at-large Les Bumgarner has indicated he isconsidering running for mayor as well.

“But no one has qualified yet,” Jinks said. “They can’t actuallyqualify until Jan. 5.”

Jinks said anyone with further questions is welcome to call thecity clerk’s office at (601) 833-2362.