Election update: What if no one qualifies for county surveyor?

Published 2:00 pm Thursday, January 26, 2023

The open period to qualify for an elected office in 2023 began Jan. 3 and ends Feb. 1. To date, no one has qualified for the post of Lincoln County Surveyor, a seat occupied by Joe W. Byrd for many years.

Attempts to reach Byrd for comment have so far been unsuccessful. If he declines to run for re-election, and no one else qualifies in the few days left, what happens?

According to the Mississippi State University Extension Service, a surveyor is only elected if there is interest in the position. The position is a 4-year-term and not party-affiliated.

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If no one qualifies, the Lincoln County Board of Supervisors will have to appoint a surveyor in January 2024, according to County Circuit Clerk Dustin Bairfield.

Bairfield has been in contact with Secretary of State Michael Watson’s office about the position becoming an appointed one rather than elected for future terms.

“But the person appointed must be a licensed surveyor,” Bairfield said. “You can’t just point anyone’s name on it.”

Bairfield said he expects attorneys from Watson’s office to get back with him in the near future with any further information.

A county surveyor provides surveying services at the direction of the courts for county projects and individual landowners, and is paid on a fee basis. He or she must be a registered land surveyor and a qualified elector of the county.