Not unlike Groundhog Day tradition, local voters will be given the chance to shake off winter’s chill and participate in upcoming State party and local primaries. According to Carroll County General Registrar Kimberly Cloud, the deadline to turn in application packets for Hillsville Town Council and mayoral races is March 1 by 7 p.m. State primaries are set for the same date.
Cloud said candidates for the Hillsville Pine Ridge and Piper’s Gap seats must secure 25 valid signatures, while mayoral candidates must have 125 valid signatures. Packets containing information for potiential candidates may be obtained at the registrar’s office in the Carroll County Government Complex during office hours, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. She said that while several packets had been picked up for the mayor’s position, none had been turned in at the time this article was written.
Cloud said basic qualifications and a qualification form are in the candidate packets for the town positions. Requirements for the council positions include living in the town limits in the ward being run for, being 18 years old and being a registered voter, for instance. Candidates for mayor may live in any of the town’s four wards, Cloud said.
“We prefer the paperwork (for candidates) turned in by February 26 so we can verify the registered voter’s signatures,” said Cloud. “Naturally with the election (primaries) taking place the following Monday we will have plenty to do. We’ll be here, ready to process the packets and get them qualified.” She said generally candidates who haven’t qualified are the only ones contacted by the office following the packets being submitted.
State primary candidates go through a similar process to local candidates. Cloud said qualified voters may participate in the Republican or Democratic primaries. Polling will be held at the same 18 locations where general election voting is held. Voting is done on paper ballots which are scanned into a computerized vote tally system. Ballots can be scanned if they are put in face up, face down or backwards. (Ballots cannot be scanned if they are sideways.)
Cloud said absentee voting, which has been ongoing since mid-January, will continue until February 27 during regular office hours, and on that Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. February 23 is the last day to mail out the ballots and the applications can be picked up at the office that day or online from the Virginia Department of Elections at elections.virginia.gov. Persons must qualify on one of 18 different criteria for an absentee ballot.
Sample ballots may be obtained in the registrar’s office or on the Carroll County web page at www.carrollcountyva.org as well as information links and maps of districts and precincts.
Speculation is that the switch to primaries is viewed as another way for political parties to get data for future “get-out-the-vote” events. Conventions are day-long events which some political analysts insist attracts only the most committed activists, compared to a state-run primary in polling places across the Commonwealth and open to all voters.
David Broyles may be reached at 276-779-4013 or on Twitter@CarrollNewsDave.