By Tim Gardner
This year will feature elections for county, state and national offices. At this writing, twelve have filed for offices who Avery County voters will elect or help elect.
Filing for most county and district offices and some for state and federal offices began Monday, February 12 at 12:00 noon and runs through Wednesday, February 28 at 12:00 noon.
Avery County offices open this year include: Commissioner, Board of Education, Sheriff, Clerk of Court and Soil and Water Supervisor. There are three seats open on the County Commission. The two candidates with the most votes will serve four-year terms, while the candidate with the third most votes will serve a two-year term. Two seats are open on the Board of Education. The winners for Sheriff, Clerk of Court, Board of Education and Soil and Water will all serve four-year terms.
Also, Avery County voters will join those from Watauga, Mitchell, Yancey and Madison counties in electing a District Attorney for their 35th District. That prosecutorial district was recently changed in number from the 24th to the 35th. Avery voters also will join those from Mitchell and McDowell Counties in electing a State Representative (House Member) for the 85th District and from Burke and Caldwell counties in electing a State Senator for the 46th District. The winners of the District Attorney, State Representative and State Senator races will serve four-year terms.
In county offices, Lisa Daniels filed for Clerk of Court and Kevin Frye for Sheriff. Both are seeking re-election to those offices. Also, Incumbent Blake Vance filed for County Commissioner as did Gerald Ray McKinney and Dennis Aldridge. Pat Edwards filed for Board of Education
For district offices, Incumbent Seth Banks filed for re-election as District Attorney, Incumbent Warren Daniel for State Senate and Incumbent Josh Dobson for State House.
Nationally, incumbent Virginia Foxx, Cortland Meader, Jr. and Jennifer Marshall filed for United States House (Congress) in North Carolina’s 5th Congressional District, which encompasses much of the northwestern portion of the state, including Avery County, and a portion of Winston-Salem.
All these candidates are Republicans except Marshall, who is a Democrat.
The election primary is on Tuesday, May 8 from 6:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
A voting canvass will be on Friday, May 18.
A candidate of any political party can run for office in a primary. Candidates who win a primary or are unopposed in a primary would then be candidates in the general election on November 6.
The Board of Education is non-partisan and there will be only one election (the May primary) for its candidates. The Soil & Water Supervisor also is non-partisan and its candidates will only be on the General Election ballot in November. There will be no runoffs in either of those two elections. The top two candidates in votes received in both races will automatically win regardless of how many votes they win by. Filing for Soil & Water Supervisor can be done at the Board of Elections from June 11 at 12:00 noon through July 6 at 12:00 noon.
Candidates for District Attorney, State House and State Senate must complete a Notice of Candidacy in the county in which they’re registered to vote and then actually file for those offices at the State Board of Elections office in Raleigh.
All judicial filings also must be done with the State Board of Elections Office in Raleigh in June.
Any candidate for the U.S. House, Senate or the Presidency must register with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) once he or she (or persons acting on their behalf) receive contributions or make expenditures in excess of $5,000.00. House candidates file with the FEC, electronically or by paper. Senate candidates file by paper with the Secretary of the Senate.
Within 15 days of reaching that $5,000.00 threshold, those candidates must file a Statement of Candidacy authorizing a principal campaign committee to raise and spend funds on their behalf. Candidates must file a Statement of Candidacy for every election they run in, even if they run for the same office in a different election cycle. If the candidate is running in more than one election, he or she can then designate the same principal campaign committee or designate a new committee to raise and spend funds for the regularly scheduled elections.
Within 10 days of that filing for each election, the candidate’s principal campaign committee must also then submit a Statement of Organization declaration form. The Statement of Organization designates a treasurer and a custodian of records to oversee money in and money out. The candidate’s campaign must thereafter report its receipts and disbursements on a regular basis. Candidates for federal office also must file monthly or quarterly disclosures of their personal finances such as expenditures, debt settlements and related information. To get matching campaign funds from the federal government, a presidential candidate must prove that he or she raised at least $5,000 in each of 20 states, and then submit a letter and written certification to the FEC agreeing to abide by its campaign regulations.
Additionally, under FEC regulations, funds raised by party committees and federal candidates/officeholders for recount expenses are subject to limits, prohibitions and reporting requirements that are not contributions or expenditures. Committees must disclose funds received for a recount as “Other Receipts” and funds spent as “Other Disbursements.”
Candidates running in off-election year special elections who have received contributions or made expenditures over $5,000 for the special election also should file a Statement of Candidacy indicating the year of the special election and designating a principal campaign committee to raise and spend funds for the special election.
But technically, a candidate does not have to fill out the paperwork and register with the FEC. In fact, a candidate can dodge the whole bureaucracy if he or she can run without spending more than $5,000 of their own money. The government doesn’t demand any filing fees that might dissuade long-shot candidates. Typically, more than 250 people fill out the paperwork every presidential election cycle. Most are not considered major candidates. Such a candidate was former Avery County resident Charlie Carstens, who filed for U.S. President in the 1976 election, won by Democrat Jimmy Carter. In the 1996 presidential campaign, political activist Ralph Nader also made a point of not filing a statement of candidacy; he came in fourth in the voting.
Write-in candidates for a county office must generate 100 petition signatures from registered voters in the county supporting their candidacy to be an official candidate. Those petition signatures would have to be submitted to the local Board of Elections office on or before ninety (90) days prior to the general election with a deadline date and time of July 24 at 12:00 noon. Additionally, write-in candidates for District offices must generate a petition signed by 250 registered voters and candidates for state offices have to obtain 500 signatures from registered voters in their districts and across the state, respectively, supporting their election bids, to be official candidates. And those petition signatures have to be submitted to the State Board of Elections Office 90 days before the general election with a deadline of July 24 at 12:00 noon.
Filing fees for a public office cost one percent of the position’s annual salary, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
October 12 is the voting registration deadline for general elections. One stop early voting begins October 18 and ends November 3. General election day is November 6, 2018, from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
According to Avery Election officials, early voting may be done at the Avery County Board of Elections office, located in the Avery County Court House at 200 Montezuma Street, #307, in Newland.
The early voting days and hours of operation are:
Thursday, April 19 – Friday, April 20 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Monday, April 23 – Friday, April 27 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Monday, April 30 – Friday, May 4 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, May 4 (Only Saturday) 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Voting on the primary election day (May 8) can be done at polling sites only from 6:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Other important voting dates include:
Monday, March 19 Absentee Voting by Mail Begins for Primary Election
Friday, April 13 (until 5:00 p.m.) Voter Registration Deadline for Primary Election
Thursday, April 19 One Stop Early Voting Begins for Primary Election
Saturday, May 5 One Stop Early Voting Ends for Primary Election
The entire list of filing, registration and early voting dates involving the fall’s General Election includes:
June 11 – Soil & Water Candidate Filing Opens at 12:00 Noon
June 18 – Filing for All Judicial Offices Opens at 12:00 Noon
June 29 – Filing for All Judicial Offices Closes at 12:00 Noon
July 6 – Soil & Water Candidate Filing Closes at 12:00 Noon
October 12 – Voter Registration Deadline
October 18 – One Stop early voting begins
November 3 – One Stop early voting ends
General election day is November 6, 2018, with voting from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Information about One Stop Absentee Voting, can be obtained at the Elections Office or by calling (828) 733-8282.
Anyone eligible to vote must:
*Be a citizen of the United States
*Be a resident of North Carolina and Avery County for at least 30 days prior to an election
*Be at least 18 years of age by the next general election
*Not be registered to vote in another county or state
*If convicted of a felony, have had your citizenship rights restored
*If you move to another county in North Carolina, you will need to register in that county.
The deadline to register to vote in North Carolina and in Avery County is 25 days before the date of an election (April 13). Forms must be received in the Elections Office or postmarked by the deadline. Each voter will be sent a voter card showing his/her assigned precinct.
Avery County has the following nineteen voting precincts:
Altamont; Banner Elk; Beech Mountain; Cary’s Flat; Cranberry; Elk Park; Frank; Heaton; Hughes; Ingalls; Linville; Minneapolis; Montezuma; Newland 1; Newland 2; Pineola; Plumtree; Pyatte; and Roaring Creek.