Dougherty County Elections Supervisor Ginger Nickerson and Board of Elections Chairman Alan Pendleton are pictured on Wednesday just before the Board voted 5-0 to deny Terrance Wilson's bid to run as an independent in the District 3 School Board race against Velvet Riggins.
ALBANY, Ga. — The Dougherty County Election Board voted unanimously Wednesday to deny Terrance Wilson’s application to qualify as an independent candidate in the District 3 Dougherty School Board race.
The 5-0 vote to deny Wilson’s inclusion on the ballot was reached because of insufficient petition signatures. State law requires that 5 percent of a voting district’s registered voters sign the petition for inclusion, which means 412 certified signatures were required to qualify as an independent candidate in District 3. The elections office certified 86 signatures.
Barring a write-in campaign by a candidate, Velvet Riggins, who was suspended from office after being indicted on school lunch fraud charges, has no opposition in her bid for a new four-year term on the School Board in the Nov. 6 General Election.
Next week, the board may consider during a called meeting the eligibility of Greater 2nd Mt. Olive Baptist Church Pastor Lorenzo Heard, who is attempting to get on the ballot as an independent to run against Dr. Lane Price, the Democratic Party nominee for the Dougherty School Board’s at-large seat.
Price unseated incumbent School Board member Anita Williams-Brown in the July 31 Democratic Primary and appeared set to join the board in January since she had no Republican opposition in the General Election.
“We are still canvassing signatures right now,” Elections Supervisor Ginger Nickerson told the Board in regard to Heard’s petitions. “We have five people working on certifying the signatures and hope to be finished by the end of the week.”
Board Chairman Alan Pendleton said the Elections Board would not make a decision on Heard’s candidacy until the signature certification process was complete. A total of 2,911 certified signatures would be needed for an independent candidate to have his or her name included on the ballot if running for a countywide office.
“We’ll have a called meeting after the run-off (Tuesday) to consider Rev. Heard’s candidacy,” Pendleton said. “If he does not have the signatures, it’s a moot point, he’s not qualified. If he has the signatures, then we will consider the other issues and make a decision.
“We are waiting to consider all compliance issues at one time.”
After Price’s victory, Heard attempted to file an affidavit on the final day of qualifying to run against her as an independent.
His notice of candidacy affidavit, however, was rejected when Clinton Johnson, the youth minister at 2nd Mt. Olive and District 3 county commissioner-elect, handed over what elections officials determined to be a copy of an affidavit rather than an original document. The document, which was stamped by the Elections Office, was shredded after it was returned, Heard has said. Heard also has not paid the $108 qualifying fee.