No candidates file for Bath school board special election
A special election is being held in Bath County on November 4th to fill the Cedar Creek District seat on the school board. No one filed by the August 15 deadline to be on the ballot for this special election, so the ballot will only have a space for a write in candidate.
Charles Garrett, the General Registrar for Bath County, says write in candidates need to be aware of their obligations concerning campaigning and other election regulations.
“Campaigning is actively expressing an interest in serving that office,” says Garrett. “You can campaign, very simply, just by telling somebody at the store as you’re talking about the election that ‘Well, you know, if someone wrote me in I’d be interested in it.’ If people just come up and say ‘I think you’d be a really good person on the school board. I’m going to write you in.’ And you’re non-committal about it, you say ‘Well, that’s fine. That’s your choice.’ Then you are not campaigning.”
If you are campaigning as a write in candidate there is paperwork that needs to be filed through Garrett’s office.
“They don’t have to go through the same paperwork that a candidate for the ballot would, but they fall under the campaign finance law and they must file the appropriate campaign finance forms,” says Garrett. “There is an exemption if they are not going to spend a lot of money and they are only spending their own money. If a group gets together to campaign on your behalf to write you in, that group will have to register under the campaign finance law. The way the law is written, you really need to file your finance report before the very first act of campaigning.”
The write in candidate who receives the most votes can only be declared the winner of the election if he or she is a registered voter in the Cedar Creek District and has been a resident of Virginia for a year. This election is filling an unexpired term ending on December 31, 2015. So the winner will be in office next year from January to December.
And there’s one more thing to keep in mind regarding write in candidates.
“One of the issues that happens during the canvas is interpreting people’s names,” says Garrett. “And if people write in Joe Smith and there are three other Joe Smiths in your district, it can be hard to determine who they actually intend. One thing we suggest is just have some cards printed up with your legal campaign name, which is basically your first name, middle initial and last name. And you can put your nickname in there if you want. And a voter can take that into the polls with them to make sure they get your name right. But the spelling of the name can be really important.”
And Garrett is always looking for officers of election to man the polls on Election Day. You are compensated and training is held one evening prior to each election. And additional training material is provided for you to review on your own time.
For more information contact Charles Garrett at 540-839-7266.