Consider seeking a county office
Although county elections are not until later this year, the time to officially decide to run for one of the positions up for grabs began Monday, Feb. 12. Although properly registered southern Jackson County residents can vote in this year’s county elections, they can’t run for all county offices.
For example, while properly registered southern Jackson County residents can vote for the District 1 and 2 county commission races, they are not allowed to run for the District 1 and 2 county commission seats, because as southern Jackson County residents, they do not live in District 1 and 2, which are in the northern end of the county. The county commission district that includes southern Jackson County is District 4 and that seat is not up for election this year. (Individual district elections are staggered to occur on varying years, so that, theoretically, voters can’t unseat the whole commission at one time, which could cause an unstable situation.)
However, in the county school board races being decided this year, the school board district seat representing southern Jackson County, District 5, is one of the seats up for grabs and properly registered southern Jackson County residents can, starting Monday, officially qualify to run for that seat. The other county school board seats up for election this year -- Districts 2 and 4 -- are more in the northern end of Jackson County. Folks should note that the county commission districts and county school board districts have different boundaries. They should also note that qualifying closes Feb. 28. Please refer to the page 1 story in this week’s edition to learn more about how to qualify to run in this year’s county elections.
County sheriff is also one of the offices up for grabs this year and properly registered southern Jackson County residents may, through Feb. 28, qualify to run in that race. Other county offices properly registered southern Jackson County residents can run for this year are clerk of court and register of deeds.
Please note the Chronicle is not at this time officially endorsing or rejecting any candidate -- whether it be an incumbent or challenger. However, it is reminding properly registered southern Jackson County residents that they can run for a variety of county offices if they so choose. And, if they intend to do so, they need to act before Feb. 28 to officially qualify to run. It is important to remember this time window. If you decide to run for one of the county seats up for grabs this year, but do so after Feb. 28, it will be too late -- the window will have closed.
The worst possible situation is to have only a single name on the ballot for any county seat. Voters are always better served having a choice when it comes to voting. Even if they do ultimately end up re-electing an incumbent, by having an opponent in a political race, incumbents are forced to “step up their game” and be more responsive to voters. They understand they must do this if they want to stay in office.
Also, greater participation in the election process by southern Jackson County folks is also a good thing. Too often, the northern end of the county decides to take an overly-dominant stance to what goes in the Cashiers-Glenville-Sapphire-Tuckasegee neck of the woods. Southern Jackson County needs its voice on county boards and in county offices, so that folks here are heard.
So, why not consider officially tossing your hat into the ring for a county office? However, remember that you must do so between Feb. 12 and 28.