Stephens Co. Extends Qualifying Period for Special Election

Stephens County will extend the qualifying period for the March special election to fill the seat of the late Harold Andrews on the Stephens County Commission.

County Registrar Theresa Kelley said that this week’s winter weather is the reason qualifying will now go an extra day.

“Qualifying was supposed to start Wednesday, the 29th, at 9 a.m.,” said Kelley.  “Well, due to the weather, the county offices were closed.  So qualifying started Thursday at 9 a.m. and it was supposed to end Friday at 12 noon.  But we are going to extend that to 5 p.m. Friday and then go Monday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.  Qualifying will end for the special election at 12 noon on Monday, February 3rd.”

Candidates can qualify at the Stephens County Registrar’s Office is located downstairs in the Stephens County Government Building.

That is in downtown Toccoa.

Candidates wishing to qualify for the special election must pay a $440 qualifying fee.

The special election to fill Andrews’ unexpired term will take place on March 18.

As of early Thursday afternoon, local real estate agent Michelle Grafton is the only candidate to officially qualify for the race.

Whoever wins the special election would serve the remainder of Andrews’ unexpired term, which runs through December 31.

Andrews’ seat on the county commission is also scheduled to be on the ballot in this year’s general election for a new four-year term starting on January 1, 2015.

Kelley said candidates will have to qualify for that race separately from the special election.

“If they are going to run for the next four year term, which will begin January 1, 2015, the qualifying for that term will be March 3rd through March 7th,” said Kelley.

For more information on qualifying, people can call the Registrar’s Office at 706-886-8954.

Currently, J.B. Hudgins is serving on the county commission in Andrews’ seat, having been appointed by Probate Judge Glenda Ernest to do so until a special election could be held.

When he was appointed, Hudgins said he would not seek the office in the special election.