Qualifying reopens for Macon-Bibb elections

pramati@macon.comJuly 22, 2013 

Two new candidates seeking a role in the new Macon-Bibb County consolidated government qualified to run for office Monday, the first day of the reopened qualifying period for the Sept. 17 nonpartisan special election.

Al Tillman, a former president of the local chapter of the NAACP, qualified Monday morning to run for the District 9 commission seat. Tillman, who serves on the Macon-Bibb County Planning & Zoning Commission, will face Macon City Council President James Timley, who qualified previously.

Meanwhile, local activist Anthony Harris was accepted as a certified write-in candidate in the mayor’s race. Bibb County Elections Supervisor Jeanetta Watson said Harris will have his name posted at every polling station, but his name won’t be listed on the ballot.

To qualify as a write-in, Harris needed to take out an ad in The Telegraph and fill out paperwork. He wasn’t required to pay the $3,000 qualifying fee for the mayor’s race.

Reopening the qualifying became necessary when the election was pushed to Sept. 17, meaning all candidates had to submit their paperwork once more.

The original election date, July 16, wasn’t tenable after the U.S. Department of Justice failed to decide about preclearance for the special election under the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

However, a decision last month by the U.S. Supreme Court made it unnecessary to get preclearance, thus clearing the way for the election.

Monday, several other candidates who previously qualified for office qualified again to run, without having to repay the qualifying fee.

In the mayor’s race, four mayoral candidates made their candidacies official: Robert Reichert, C. Jack Ellis, Joe Allen and David Cousino.

Commission candidates who requalified Monday were: Henry Ficklin and Larry Schlesinger (District 2); Elaine Lucas (District 3); Mallory Jones III, Beverly Olson and Theron Ussery (District 4); Bert Bivins III, Louis Frank Tompkins and Jon Carson (District 5); Robert Abbott and Ed DeFore (District 6); Eric Arnold (District 7); and Charles Jones and Regina Davis (District 8).

It costs $3,000 to qualify for mayor and $450 to qualify for a commission seat.

Qualifying continues through Wednesday at noon at the Board of Elections office, 2445 Pio Nono Ave.

To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.

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