Qualifying week underway for local candidates

Of 65 announced candidates in various municipal, county and special district elections in St Johns County, Historic City News has verified that 36 candidates have already turned in their required paperwork since the holding period opened on May 21; pursuant to Section 99.061(8), F.S.

Previously announced, or unannounced, candidates will have until noon on Friday to make their bid for public office in the 2012 Elections by filing the appropriate paperwork and paying the appropriate qualifying fees, if applicable.

Supervisor of Elections Vicky Oakes told Historic City News Editor, Michael Gold, who was on hand when the qualification process began at noon, “It has never been easier register to vote or cast your ballot.”

County Commission District 5 hopeful Rachael Bennett and her campaign consultants, Peret Pass and Josh Cockrell, arrived right at 12:00 noon to pay the required qualifying fee and file their paperwork. Joseph “Ken” Bryan, the incumbent who currently holds the seat, dropped by the office while Bennett was there — the two did not speak. Bryan’s paperwork was still incomplete, so he did not submit his qualifying documents on that visit. According to the Supervisor, Bryan did have a sufficient number of petitions verified to avoid paying the qualifying fee.

City Commission candidate and former chairman of the Board of County Commissioners, Bruce Maguire, also came by while we were reporting.

“If you need assistance registering to vote, please call my office,” Oakes said. “Likewise, if you need assistance voting, we have several alternatives available.”

Forty-five days prior to the Election, the Supervisor will mail absentee ballots overseas; thirty-five days prior to the Election, absentee ballots will be mailed to domestic addresses. Absentee ballots may be requested as late as 5 days prior to each election, and may be cast as late as 7:00 p.m. on Election Day.

Ten days prior to each election, for eight days, from Saturday to the Saturday before Election Day, a designated polling location, one in each of the county’s five commission districts, will be opened for Early Voting; plus the Supervisor of Elections Office. Registered voters may “early vote” at the location of their choice; regardless of their assigned precinct.

On Election Day, 46 precincts will be open for voting.

The last day to change your party affiliation or to register to vote in the August Primary is July 16, 2012.

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