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Eight positions up for grabs

“Running for office is important, and you don’t really need more than to be right on the issues and to be able to articulate what it is you believe. You don’t need a certain background. You don’t need to be a lawyer. You don’t have to have some professional degree.” Those were the words of Matt Gonzalez, an American politician, lawyer, and activist. Although his name probably doesn’t ring a bell and he certainly isn’t a local, his words are some Emanuel residents might want to consider over the next few weeks. Eight elected positions will be up for grabs in the 2021 General/Special Election to take place in November—and qualifying is just around the corner. Here’s everything you need to know.

Four of those eight elected positions will be on Swainsboro voters’ ballots. The mayor’s seat is up for re-election, as are the city council seats for Ward 3, Ward 4, and Ward 6.

Charles Schwabe has held the position of mayor since 2005.

Current city council members for Ward 3, Ward 4, and Ward 6 are Johnny Ray Stafford, Bobbie Collins, and Rita Faulkner, respectively.

If you’re interested in running for mayor, the fee is $949. The fee to run for one of the city council seats is $576.

The City of Stillmore has two council positions up for election later this year as well. Those two seats are currently filled by Kym Bowman and Susan Mincey. The fee to run for one of these seats is $27.

Rounding out the last of the races to take place in November are two Twin City commission seats, which are filled today by Jule Bady and Charles Moody. The fee to run for either of these two positions is $36.

According to Kerry Curry, Emanuel County Elections Director, qualifying for the City of Swainsboro and the City of Stillmore will take place August 16-18 at the Elections Office (105 S. Main Street, Swainsboro, GA 30401) from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. sharp.

The same dates apply for Twin City; the location, however, differs because this particular municipality handles its own qualifying. Persons interested in running for Twin City City Commission should visit city hall (112 S. Railroad Avenue, Twin City, GA 30471) to qualify.

All of these eight races are nonpartisan, so voters will not have to “vote with the party.”

Looking beyond qualifying, voters should go ahead and circle Election Day, Tuesday, November 2, on their calendars. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and voters should report to their assigned precincts to cast their ballots.

Should you want to skip the Election Day voting experience and instead vote early to avoid crowds and wait times, three weeks of early voting from October 11 through November 1 should provide ample time to do so. The early voting period also includes two Saturdays, October 16 and October 23. Early voting must be done at the Elections Office in Swainsboro. Hours will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Curry also mentioned to The Chronicle last week there will be an important referendum on the ballot in November for all voters. Official documents have yet to be finalized for advertising purposes, but the 1 percent Special Local Option Sales Tax, also called “SPLOST,” runs out this year and will be up for renewal in a few months. Look for a more in-depth look at SPLOST as the election approaches.

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