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Padgett is only qualifier for probate judge's post

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Alice Padgett remained the only qualifier Friday for a Sept. 20 special election for Columbia County Probate judge, but she is not yet guaranteed to replace the late Pat Hardaway.

Board of Elections Director Deborah Marshall said potential write-in candidates have until next Friday to file a notice of intent to compete for the office.

Anyone wishing to be a write-in candidate must file a notice of intent with Marshall's office, run an advertisement of intent with The Columbia County News-Times and meet all other qualifying requirements.

Candidates must be U.S. citizens, Columbia County residents and registered voters, at least 30 years old, have no felony record, and have practiced law for the past seven years, Marshall said.

The qualifying fee is $2,173.02.

If no one registers as a write-in, taxpayers can avoid the countywide special election, which would cost more than $40,000.

After the Georgia secretary of state's office certified Padgett, she would become probate judge without the election, Marshall said.

Padgett, who is serving as the interim probate judge, would replace Hardaway, who died last month at age 75 after an illness.

Hardaway served as Columbia County's probate judge for 30 years.

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Donnie Fetter
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Donnie Fetter 08/05/11 - 12:59 pm
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I should qualify that the

I should qualify that the last day to register as a write-in candidate is Friday, Aug. 12.

j-campbell
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j-campbell 08/05/11 - 01:39 pm
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Surely you don't expect any

Surely you don't expect any sensible lawyer practicing in the area to oppose the wife of a sitting Superior Court judge. The situation is virtually the same as a sitting judge being opposed in his or her re-election effort -- it rarely happens.

Asitisinaug
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Asitisinaug 08/05/11 - 01:50 pm
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I don't expect any sensible

I don't expect any sensible lawyer to oppose someone who has been working in that court doing and excellent job for quite some time.

Hopefully the county will save the 40k for an election and have an excellent new judge at the same time.

easy breezy
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easy breezy 08/05/11 - 02:32 pm
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Hmmmm!

Hmmmm!

Riverman1
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Riverman1 08/05/11 - 06:18 pm
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Strange they can charge

Strange they can charge because the public writes in a name. But of course no one will challenge Wade Padgett's wife. Probate Court cases that go to Superior Court will be interesting. Lots of recusing going on.

Splain to me how they came up with this number? The qualifying fee remains $2,173.02. If the candidates don't drop $2200 on the desk and say keep the change, I don't want to have anything to do with them.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 08/05/11 - 06:16 pm
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If it didn't cost anything

If it didn't cost anything and if Riverman were a lawyer and if there were going to be an election, and if I had enough gas money to get to the polls that day I'd write in Riverman on principle. Just because.

678
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Barry Paschal 08/06/11 - 09:05 am
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From the Georgia Secretary of

From the Georgia Secretary of State's office: Qualifying fees are set by O.C.G.A. §21-2-131(a), which states that candidate qualifying fees will be 3 percent of the office’s minimum annual salary, excluding the qualifying fees for State House and State Senate which are $400.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 08/06/11 - 10:42 am
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Barry, thanks, but I still

Barry, thanks, but I still don't see how they could charge someone if the public was writing his name in during an election....not that it will apply here because there's no election. What I could see is if the write-in candidate won, he would have to pay the fees if he wanted to assume the office.

All this brings up the question of why not have an election because possibly there would be write-in candidates. Having "write-in" candidates pay to qualify defeats the whole idea of write-in's. Something doesn't sound right here. Is it even possible to forgo an election if only one candidate qualifies?

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 08/06/11 - 12:24 pm
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Donny Fetter wrote, “If no

Donny Fetter wrote, “If no one registers as a write-in, taxpayers can avoid the countywide special election.”

Riverman wrote, “Is it even possible to forgo an election if only one candidate qualifies?”

Don't you believe reporter Donnie Fetter, RM? If there is only one candidate, the race doesn't even have to appear on the ballot. In the last election for Richmond County District 7 Commission, Jerry Brigham was the only one who qualified. The office did not even show up on the ballot because there was no contest.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 08/06/11 - 02:25 pm
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LL, yeah, I see what he

LL, yeah, I see what he wrote, but what I'm asking is how can you charge someone a filing fee who has his name written in on the ballot? How can you predict whose name will be written in? Thus, if that's accurate and a name can be written in although the person didn't file as a candidate, how can you not have an election? It is theoretically possible a write-in would win. Yada, yada, yada about it not showing up on the ballot all the time. See my point?

Riverman1
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Riverman1 08/06/11 - 02:29 pm
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LL, let's take it a step

LL, let's take it a step further. Say there were two declared candidates who paid the fees, etc. and there was an election. But there was someone else, a third person who didn't file, but who asked everyone to write his name in and he won? Is that not legal?

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 08/07/11 - 03:11 pm
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Here is the way I understand

Here is the way I understand it, RM. In the distant past, writing in a candidate's name was a normal way of doing business, and the poor elections department clerks actually had to tally those names, even if the write-in names were Donald Duck and Popeye. Then, sometime in the recent past, the Georgia legislature (no doubt lobbied by those election department clerks) changed the law to require proposed write-in candidates to actually declare and qualify the same as Democrat and Republican candidates. The only difference was they had one to four weeks longer to make up their minds in return for not having their names appear on the ballot.

Now, if someone writes in Donald Duck or Popeye, the clerks do not have to count those votes. They have to count only valid qualified candidates, whether party candidates or write-ins who went through the qualification process.

I may not be totally correct, but I hope I am at least clear.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 08/06/11 - 05:23 pm
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Okay, LL. That's probably the

Okay, LL. That's probably the case. Thanks. What I was getting at is if you could write in a candidate although no one was declared to be a write-in candidate why wouldn't you have an election even if there was only one declared candidate?

Riverman1
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Riverman1 08/07/11 - 11:51 am
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It appears to me the new law

It appears to me the new law has effectively done away with write-in candidates. Why would anyone pay almost $2200, the same as a regular candidate filing, and then say he wanted to be put on the ballot as a write-in? In addition, how can you not count votes that are written in even though the person didn't file as a write-in? Is that constitutional?

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 08/07/11 - 03:05 pm
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Riverman wondered whether not

Riverman wondered whether not counting write in votes for person that did not go through the qualifying process is constitutional. Good question. First off, we have to remember that all elections are controlled by the state governments. There are no such things as "federal" elections (with the one exception of the electoral college casting their votes for president and vice-president in the Congress building every four years).

Since state governments control elections, any constitutional challenge would have to be against the state constitution where the disenfranchisement would have alleged to have occurred. The Georgia legislature wrote the law that said that the only write in votes that have to be counted are those for candidates who lawfully qualified to be a write in candidate.

Also, the same Georgia legislature wrote the law that said an office for which only one candidate qualified would not require listing on the ballot. Now we learn that that law also means that a special election for an office for which only one candidate qualified would not even require an election at all!

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 08/07/11 - 03:09 pm
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The only way to know if

The only way to know if Georgia's law saying that write-in votes for candidates that did not lawfully qualify are not to be counted is constitutional would be for Donald Duck or Popeye to bring suit in a Georgia superior or appellate court.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 08/07/11 - 05:49 pm
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LL...haha. But I do believe

LL...haha. But I do believe it's unconstitutional. Heck, the Georgia state government used to do lots of things the Feds told us was wrong. Common sense tells me what they are actually doing is preventing all write-in candidates and I don't believe you can constitutionally (US) do that.

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