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Our Views: Fill those ballots

Local election qualifying

Those interested in running for local political office must pick up qualifying packets this week.

Up for election: At-large seats currently held by John Brady, Albert Reeves and Seth Weaver
When: Monday-Friday
Where: Town Hall, 122 Dean St.
Fee: $21.60
Contact: 770-983-7568

Flowery Branch
Up for election: Posts 1 and 2
When: Monday-Friday
Where: City Hall, 5517 Main St.
Fee: $144
Contact: 770-967-6371

Up for election: Wards 2, 3 and 5
When: Monday-Wednesday
Where: Suite 303, Joint Administration Building, 300 Henry Ward Way
Fee: $605.03, City Council; $157.93, Board of Education
Contact: 770-535-6865

Up for election: Posts 3, 4 and 5
When: Monday-Wednesday
Where: Hall County elections office, 2285 Browns Bridge Road
Fee: $9
Contact: 770-531-6945

Up for election: Posts 3, 4 and 5
When: Monday-Wednesday
Where: 6055 Main St.
Fee: $36
Contact: 770-869-3801

Up for election: Post 3, 4 and 5
When: Monday-Wednesday
Where: City Hall, 4035 Walnut Circle
Fee: $216
Contact: 770-534-2365

For those wanting to be more than a casual observer of local government, here's your chance to get really involved.

Election qualifying for city council and school board seats across Georgia begins Monday and must last, according to state law, at least three days.

Some cities have reserved Monday through Friday for the task. Qualifying cannot begin before 8:30 a.m. Monday or go past 4:30 p.m. Friday.

Some candidates already have picked up their election packets, "but they can't turn them in until Monday," Flowery Branch City Clerk Marja Burney said.

Burney has a fact sheet she hands out to potential candidates.

The paper includes such vital information as who's up for re-election and the voter registration deadline of Oct. 11.

The most important date to remember: the general election, Nov. 8.

"I just know that, when I was at Lilburn, people would come in — I sat at the front — and they would always ask me (election) questions," said Burney, who has been with Flowery Branch since June.

Qualifying will take place Monday through Friday in Clermont and Flowery Branch and Monday through Wednesday in Gainesville, Gillsville, Lula and Oakwood.

Fees range from $9 in Gillsville to $605.03 for the city council race in Gainesville. Fees are set at 3 percent of the total gross salary from the previous calendar year, according to state law.

And all qualifying will take place in city offices, except for tiny Gillsville. The Hall County elections office, 2285 Browns Bridge Road, will accept Gillsville's candidates.

Clermont Town Council seats held by John Brady, Albert Reeves and Seth Weaver are up for election. Only Reeves said that he doesn't plan to seek another term, as he is moving out of the area.

Flowery Branch incumbents Amanda Swafford, post 1, and Chris Fetterman, post 2, have said they plan to run again.

Longtime Gainesville Councilman Bob Hamrick and Councilwoman Myrtle Figueras, representing Wards 2 and 3, respectively, said they plan to seek another term.

Mayor Ruth Bruner, representing Ward 5, said in January she planned to seek re-election. The mayoral title rotates among current council members and her two-year term ends Dec. 31.

Lula has three council members up for re-election: Larry Shuler of Post 3, Judah Echols of Post 4 and Lamb Griffin of Post 5.

Last week, Shuler said he was undecided about another term and Echols said he doesn't plan to run again.

Griffin couldn't be reached for comment.

Gillsville councilmen Todd Dale of Post 3, H. Keith Segars of Post 4 and Richard Ferguson of Post 5 are up for re-election. They couldn't be reached for comment.

In Oakwood, an election will be held to fill Posts 3, 4 and 5 seats on the city council now held, respectively, by Gary Anderson, Martha Collins and Montie Robinson Sr.

Collins and Robinson have said they plan to seek re-election. Last week, Anderson said he was still undecided.