ALBANY -- Dougherty County Elections officials confirmed Monday that School Board at-large hopeful Lorenzo Heard has yet to pay the $108 qualifying fee to run as an independent candidate against Democratic nominee Lane Price in the Nov. 6 General Election.
The Dougherty Board of Elections is scheduled to meet at 4 p.m. Wednesday. It is expected that Heard's candidacy will be a topic of discussion.
A source close to the situation said the board's agenda would be published later today and that some decision in regard to Heard would likely be made at the meeting.
"I really can't comment right now because the signatures are still being verified," Board of Elections Chairman Alan Pendleton said. "We have three people working on that right now, signature by signature. It's not a quick process. We don't have an agenda yet, but I think the situation will come up one way or another.
"I hope we can put this to bed quickly."
The situation arose shortly after Price defeated incumbent Anita Williams-Brown in the Democratic Primary Election on July 31. Heard, the pastor at Greater 2nd Mt. Olive Baptist Church, then began scrambling to meet a noon Aug. 3 deadline to enter the race as an independent candidate.
District 3 Dougherty County Commissioner-elect Clinton Johnson, Mt. Olive's Youth Minister, presented a required notice of candidacy to the county elections office, which was time-stamped, then rejected and returned to Johnson. That document was later shredded.
On Aug. 6, Heard arrived at the elections office just ahead of a noon deadline with signatures from nominating petitions. State law requires signatures of 5 percent of the county's registered voters (approximately 3,000 signatures), which the elections office is in the process of certifying.
"The board has to make a decision and we just may have to educate them on how this process is supposed to work," said Heard's attorney, Maurice King.
Dougherty County attorney Spencer Lee, who supported Price during the primary and will have to work with Johnson in the future, has recused himself from the dispute and will be replaced by Ed Collier, attorney for Calhoun and Terrell counties.
The Price campaign will be represented by Americus attorney Jimmy Skipper.