It’s time to throw your hat into the ring.
Qualifying for city elections began Monday with nine candidates filing paperwork with the City Clerk seeking a post on the Board of Mayor and Commissioners.
All four city commissioners’ posts and the Mayor’s office are up for election and qualifying opened Jan. 4 and closes at 5 p.m. sharp, on Friday, Feb. 5. Primary elections, which are traditionally held in June, will be held on April 6 this year with the General Election, if needed, held June 8.
Candidates who had filed with the Clarksdale City Clerk as of 5 p.m. Tuesday, post sought, political party and if they are an incumbent (i) are:
• Scotty A. Meredith, Democrat
• Cassandra Wilson, Inde-pendent
• Bo Plunk, Democrat (i)
• Ray Sykes, Democrat
• George Hines, Jr., Democrat
• Ken Murphey, Democrat (i)
• Buster Moton, Democrat
• Willie Turner, Democrat (i)
• Greg Hoskins, Democrat
• Ed Seals, Democrat (i)
This spring’s Clarksdale Municipal Election will be conducted by the city. Candidates wishing to file can contact the City Clerk at 662-621-8136 or via Email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Candidates wishing to seek the nomination of a particular party must pay the clerk a $10 filing fee and paperwork which the clerk submits to the state. Candidates choosing to participate in the general election as an independent must present a petition to the clerk with the names of 50 registered voters. This list must be submitted in time for the City Clerk to confirm the names on the petition are valid voters and residents.
To run for a City of Clarksdale office, the candidate must be a qualified voter and not have been convicted of certain crimes or misdemeanors.
All candidates must have lived in the city limits of Clarksdale for two years. The mayor is elected at-large and Commissioners must live in the ward they represent.
State law says anyone who seeks to influence the vote of any person by absentee ballot or offers anything of value for a vote, or destroys absentee ballots can be charged with voter fraud and upon conviction be fined not less than $500 and not more than $5,000 and be sentenced from one to five years in the state penitentiary, or both. The statute also includes those who offer to submit a ballot for something of value.
Questions or concerns about voting issues, policy and procedure for any election should be directed to the Secretary of State’s office at (601) 359-1350.
Questions or concerns about candidate qualifications, ethics and conduct while in office should be directed to the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Division at (601) 359-4258.
Qualifications vary from office to office but the main requirements are to be a resident and qualified voter from the district or county they plan to represent. Candidates may not have been convicted of a federal crime or certain Mississippi crimes defined as felonies punishable by incarceration in a state penitentiary, unless they have received a full pardon. They also may not be convicted of a crime in another state that is considered a felony under Mississippi law.
Candidates cannot have been legally declared mentally incompetent.
Candidates must fill out a statement of economic interest online within 15 days of qualifying with the Secretary of State and routinely throughout the year. The next campaign finance report deadlines are Sept. 27 and Nov. 17 for any contribution over $200. Failure to file these reports can result in fines and possible removal from office.
For additional voter information, visit yallvote.ms.