Filing for 2016 election begins in Polk County

Published 10:02 pm Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Filing for the 2016 election began on Tuesday, Dec. 1 with two local candidates filing by the end of the day.

Incumbent Polk County Registrar of Deeds Sheila Whitmire (R) filed to retain her seat and incumbent Polk County School Board member Rick Covil from Tryon filed to retain his seat, according to the Polk County Board of Elections. Andy Millard (D) of Polk County, filed for U.S. Congress, 10th Congressional District, on Tuesday at the state board of elections office in Raleigh.

The 2016 election will include several state and federal races, including the U.S. presidency. Locally, three Polk County Board of Commissioner seats will be up for election, as well as the Polk County Registrar of Deeds and Polk County School Board seats. School board members run non-partisan races.

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The seats of Polk County Commissioners Tom Pack (R), Michael Gage (R) and Keith Holbert (R) are up for re-election this year.

North Carolina changed the filing dates from the February of the year of the election to December the year prior.

A recent law modified the required length of time a candidate for a partisan primary must have been affiliated with the political party for which he/she desires to file as a candidate from 90 days previously to 75 days. The change in date means that the latest date a candidate must have changed his/her partisan affiliation for the 2016 general election is Oct. 7, 2015. If someone changed their party affiliation on Oct. 7, 2015, that candidate could not file his/her notice of candidacy until the last possible date, Dec. 21.

Next year’s election will also include different primary election dates.

The primary election will be on March 15, 2016. The general election will be on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

The 2016 election will also be the first year voter ID is required to vote.

Candidates who wish to file as an unaffiliated candidate will need to file a petition with at least four percent of the total number of registered voters. The petition must be signed by the voters by Jan. 1, 2016 and must be filed by noon on the last Friday in June 2016.

Candidates will have until Dec. 21 to file for elections for affiliated races. Filing for the local election can be done at the Polk County Board of Elections Office located on the second floor of the Womack building in Columbus. Filing will end at noon Dec. 21. The elections office is open weekdays between 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.