HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Six Towns County seats are open for election in 2020, including Office of the Sole Commissioner, Office of the Sheriff, County Coroner, County Tax Commissioner, Judge of Probate Court, and Superior Clerk of Court.
The primary election is scheduled for Tuesday, May 19, 2020. In the event of a run-off, a deciding vote to advance to the general election will be held on Tuesday, July 21. General election day is Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020.
The deadline for primary voter registration is April 20, and Oct. 5 for the general election.
The earliest date for candidate qualification is Tuesday, March 3. Qualifying fees are calculated at 3-percent of the elected official’s gross salary during the previous year. According to the Towns County Board of Elections, qualifying fees are to be publicly announced prior to Feb. 1, 2020.
Candidates for Sole County Commissioner are required to have been a resident of Towns County for at least 12 months prior to the election, must be a qualified voter, must be a citizen of the state, and must have attained the age of 21 years.
Qualifying factors for the Office of the Sheriff are as follows:
- Must have been a resident of the county for at least two years immediately preceding the date of
qualifying for election to the office.
- Must be a registered voter and have attained the age of at least 25 at the time of qualifying as a
- Must have obtained a high school diploma or its recognized equivalent in educational training as
established by the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council.
- Must be a citizen of the United States.
- Must not have been convicted of a felony offense or any offense involving moral turpitude contrary
to the laws of this state, or any other state, or the United States, provided, however, that a plea of nolo
contendere to a felony offense or any offense involving moral turpitude contrary to the laws of this state
shall have the same effect as a plea of guilty, thereby disqualifying such a person from holding the
office of sheriff.
- Must be fingerprinted and have a search made of local, state, and national fingerprint files to
disclose any criminal record, which fingerprints are to be taken under the direction of the judge of the
probate court, and must be taken on or before, but no later than, the close of business on the third
business day following the close of such a qualification period.
- Must give a complete written history of his or her places of residence for a period of six years
immediately preceding the qualification date, giving house number or RFD number, street, city,
county, and state as well as a complete written history of his or her places of employment for a period
of six years immediately preceding the qualification date, giving the period of time employed, and name
and address of the employer.
Each candidate for the office of sheriff must be a registered peace officer or a certified peace officer. Any person who is not a registered or certified peace officer at the time such person assumes the office of sheriff shall be required to complete satisfactorily the requirements for certification within six months after taking office.
A loyalty oath, which must state that such person will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Georgia and is not a member of the Communist Party is also required for all elected officers of this state.
Candidates for Superior Clerk of Court, Probate Judge, Coroner, and Tax Commissioner:
1. Must have been a resident of the county for at least two years prior to qualifying for election to the
2. Must be a registered voter and must have attained the age of 25 years prior to the date of qualifying for election to the office.
3. Must have obtained a high school diploma or its recognized equivalent.
4. Must be a citizen of the United States.
Superior Clerk of Court, Probate Judge, and Coroner candidates must not have been convicted of a felony or any offense involving moral turpitude. Additionally, coroner candidates must have successfully completed the next scheduled class, no longer than 180 days after such person’s election or appointment, of a basic training course provided by the Georgia Police Academy. Coroners in Georgia should achieve 32 hours of training approved by the Georgia Coroner’s Training Council each year pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 45-16-6. Op. Atty. Gen. 90- 41.
The following persons are ineligible to hold any civil office, and the existence of any of the following acts shall be a sufficient reason for vacating any office held by such person, but the acts of such person, while holding a commission, shall be valid as the acts of an officer de facto, namely:
a) Persons who are not citizens of this state and persons under the age of 21 years, provided, however, that upon passage of appropriate ordinances, citizens of this state who are otherwise qualified and who are 18 years old shall be eligible to hold any county or municipal office, other than a judicial office.
b) Persons who are the holders of public funds who have refused or failed to account for and pay over such funds to the proper officer.
c) Persons holding any office of profit or trust under the government of the United States other than that of postmaster and officers and enlisted persons of the armed forces. Membership on any federal commission, panel, or other fact-finding or policy-making agency, where the appointment is temporary and the duties do not interfere materially with the person’s duties as a public officer, shall not bar any person from holding office in this state or acceding to a state office.
d) Persons of unsound mind and persons who, from advanced age or bodily infirmity, are unfit to discharge the duties of the office to which they are chosen or appointed.
e) Persons who are not registered and qualified voters entitled to vote.
f) Persons who have been convicted of a felony involving moral turpitude, unless that person’s civil rights have been restored and at least 10 years have elapsed from the date of the completion of the sentence without a subsequent conviction of another felony involving moral turpitude.
g) Persons who have been convicted and sentenced in any court of competent jurisdiction for fraudulent violation of primary or election laws or malfeasance in office unless such person’s civil rights have been restored.
h) Persons who are constitutionally disqualified for any cause.
Follow FYN for continued election coverage as Decision 2020 approaches.