Saturday, June 14, 2008

No One Knows Their Names

There are lots of things readers cannot learn by reading their DeSoto Suns. This morning's example of not serving the reader is John Lawhorne's Big Story.

Read the story and then answer the quiz question: Name any one of 19 candidates who submitted petitions or announced intentions to run for local office.

Qualifying week for candidates begins Monday


DeSoto County’s election season gets into high gear next week as candidates officially qualify for office.

There are 11 local offices in DeSoto County to be filled by the 2008 election: three County Commission seats; two School Board seats; five constitutional offices — clerk of the circuit court, property appraiser, tax collector, supervisor of elections and sheriff; and superintendent of schools.

Qualifying week begins Monday at noon and ends at noon on Friday. More than a dozen DeSoto County candidates — incumbents and challengers — have already “announced” for local offices, but none has yet qualified.

No one can officially qualify until qualifying week.

Candidates can qualify by petition or by paying a qualifying fee. The deadline for qualifying by petition ended May 19, the last date to submit petitions for verification of signatures.

According to the Supervisor of Elections office, 19 political hopefuls have made the deadline for qualifying by petition.

Announced candidates began their campaigns early in January by filing two forms — a notice of candidacy and the designation of a bank to be the candidate’s campaign depository — with the Supervisor of elections.

Anyone qualifying next week will have to pay a qualifying fee equivalent to 6 percent (4 percent for School Board or nonpartisan candidates) of the annual salary of the office sought.

The next election involving local candidates is the primary election on Aug. 26. The general election will take place Nov. 4

Of course readers can't name any candidate. John Lawhorne didn't bother to research or report this information. The Supervisor of Elections' phone must have been busy; four blocks was too far to drive (or walk) from the newspaper's air conditoned office. And of course, he had all those ready made sentences about deadlines, procedures and petitions that he used in the same story last month.

"Elect Me" signs are sprouting on lawns and fences all over the county, but it appears citizens wishing to make an informed vote must make a personal visit to the supervisor's office to get a list of partisans and nonpartisans. The citizens must telephone each candidate separately to get his platform. In fact, this is exactly what Old Word Wolf did the first year (2004) she moved to DeSoto County. As a result, three of the hopefuls on three separate occasions showed up on her doorstep, unannounced -- catching her in the shower every time -- to sell themselves. She voted for none of them.

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