Steven Ellis is quietly running out of time to qualify as an independent candidate for the District 3 Hall County Board of Commissioners race this year against incumbent Republican Scott Gibbs.
“To summarize the campaign in as few words as possible, I would say it’s been one hell of a bumpy ride,” Ellis said in an email to The Times.
To get his name on the ballot, the political novice must get 935 signatures of registered voters by July 8. But, in reality, he probably needs more.
Ellis said he has gotten about 550 signatures, but believes he needs another 1,000 or more to ensure he meets the qualifying threshold.
That’s because each signature must be verified with the Hall County elections office, and signatures that do not match certifying information, such as an address or date of birth, are not counted.
The days spent knocking on doors, attending community events and enlisting the support of family and friends have “not been enough” and will “probably not” be enough to qualify, Ellis said.
“I’m deeply moved by how much support there is for the cause to give voters more options,” he added. “I’m saddened by how difficult the American two-party system has made it for average Americans to get involved even on the most local of levels. I think it’s a sham that I’ve had to go through the mess I’ve been through up to this point.”
But the barriers to entry have not defeated Ellis’ hopes, and perhaps with a little name recognition and better financing, he’ll be able to pose a greater challenge in the next election cycle.
“... I’m using this opportunity to look forward to 2018,” Ellis said. “Let’s just have it out there right now that in three years of planning, I know I can make a much better case, can gain a lot more support and can make these pathetic flaming hoops I’m jumping through look like a cake walk.”