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Date of Issue: August 02, 2007

Qualifying for city races begins Sept. 4

The race for the White House began nearly 24 months before election day. The races for city offices on the Island won’t officially begin until just two months before municipal elections.

Sept. 4 is the date candidates can begin filing qualifying papers for the Nov. 6 municipal elections in Anna Maria, Holmes Beach and Bradenton Beach.

In Anna Maria, voters will elect three people to two-year terms on the city commission. The seats currently are held by John Quam, Christine Tollette and Dale Woodland.

In Holmes Beach, voters will elect three people to two-year terms on the city commission. The seats currently are held by Pat Geyer, Pat Morton and David Zaccagnino.

In Bradenton Beach, in addition to electing two people to two-year terms on the city commission, voters will elect a mayor for two years. The mayoral post currently is held by John Chappie and the commission seats currently are held by John H. Shaughnessy in Ward 1 and Janie Robertson in Ward 3.

People can announce their candidacy at any time, but they must file an appointment of campaign treasurer and designation of campaign depository with the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections office before raising money.

Within 10 days of opening a campaign account, the candidate must file a statement of candidacy with the elections office.

To qualify as a candidate, a person can pay a fee that is 4 percent of the one-year salary for the office sought or collect signatures of 1 percent of the registered voters in the last general election for the office sought.

People must also file a candidate oath, a loyalty oath and a financial disclosure statement.

Pat Arends, who chairs the voter services committee for the non-partisan League of Women Voters of Manatee County, said inquiries from potential candidates are not too common. But when she receives a call, it generally is “regarding requirements for qualifying for certain offices.”

Arends said she refers questions to the supervisor of elections office or a respective city clerk.

Then, she said, she thanks “them most sincerely for their interest in serving their community in that capacity.”

The league’s advice for prospective candidates is to first obtain a qualifying packet for an upcoming election that contains dates, qualification forms and rules. Packets for Bradenton Beach posts are available at the supervisor of elections office in Bradenton. Packets for Anna Maria and Holmes Beach posts are available from the city clerks.Arends said the league also suggests potential candidates read Florida election laws as set forth in chapters 97-106 of the Florida Statutes; become familiar with city charters, budgets and general operations and determine major issues of the city and develop a platform.

People seeking to vote in the November election must register by Oct. 9. Voter registration forms are available at many government sites, including public libraries, as well as on the Internet at election.dos.state.fl.us/regtovote/regform.

People who have moved since registering don’t necessarily need to re-register, but they must provide the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections office with a change of address because they may be required to vote in a new precinct.

The November elections will be the last of 2007, but a major primary will take place less than three months later. The Florida presidential preference primary is set for Jan. 29.

A state primary will be held Aug. 26, 2008, and the general election will be held Nov. 4, 2008.

For more information about local elections, go to www.votemanatee.com, or call 941-741-3823.

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