Friday, February 15, 2013
By going to the polls this spring, voters living in Fort Oglethorpe can elect someone to represent Ward 5 on the City Council until November of this year.
A special election will be held March 19 to determine who shall complete the unexpired term of Eddie Stinnett, the councilman who died of a heart attack Nov. 28, 2012.
Stinnett, Earl Gray and Louis Hamm were elected to the Council in 2009 and all were expected to seek re-election during the municipal election scheduled for Nov. 5, 2013. But because that would leave Stinnett’s seat vacant for more than six consecutive months before that regularly scheduled election, a special election is necessary.
Whichever of two candidates, Judd Burkhart and Clay Kissner, is elected this spring will serve until Stinnett’s term expires on the last day of this year.
Following the special election, the seat will be contested yet again during the November election, meaning the person elected to serve will be on the Council for less than one year but could seek re-election as an incumbent.
Should the winner of this special election choose to seek election to a full four-year term during the November municipal elections, they must again pay the $255 — 3 percent of a councilman’s annual salary of $8,500 — registration fee and file another notice of candidacy.
Orma Luckey, election superintendent for the city, said that because Fort Oglethorpe’s council members are elected “at large,” any registered voter living within the city, not just in Ward 5, is eligible to vote in the special election.
This March 19 special election date is the same day voters countywide will go to the polls to determine whether or not to extend a 1-cent special purpose local option sales tax, SPLOST.
Early voting to fill the vacant city council seat begins Feb. 25 and extends through March 15. Applications for absentee mail-in ballots can be requested by calling City Clerk Carol Murray at 706-866-2544, ext. 1300.
Feb. 19 is the last day a person can register and be eligible to vote in any of the March elections.
Though the special election will take place the same day as the vote on SPLOST, most Fort Oglethorpe residents must vote at two different locations.
All voting for the Ward 5 special election — early, advance or on the actual March 19 Election Day — will be conducted at Fort Oglethorpe City Hall. Those choosing to advance or early vote on the SPLOST referendum can go to either the West Side Precinct in Lakeview or Catoosa Hall in Ringgold. Anyone voting on the referendum on March 19 will cast ballots at their regular polling place.