Political Party Candidate Qualifying
Candidates qualifying as a political party candidate do so through their local political party, unless that party has not designated a qualifying officer at least 14 days prior to the start of the qualifying period. In the event that a political party has no designated qualifying officer, candidates wishing to qualify as a candidate for that party will be qualified by the election superintendent on behalf of that party. The qualifying officer at the Putnam County Board of Elections and Registration is Lynne Laseter, Supervisor of Elections and Registration. Candidates who qualify through a political party participate in the General Primary Election. The 2020 General Primary/Nonpartisan Election will be held on Tuesday, May 19. If a runoff is required to determine the winner of any race it will be held on Tuesday, July 21.
Declaration of Candidacy and Affidavit
All candidates must file a Declaration of Candidacy and Affidavit with the qualifying officer of their respective party. The declaration and affidavit may be filled out, signed, and notarized prior to the start of qualifying but forms may not be filed with anyone until qualifying officially opens. A candidate may have an agent submit the forms and qualifying fee on their behalf. All signatures on the forms must be the candidates original signature, copies, including faxed copies, are not acceptable. Forms may be submitted by mail during the qualifying period but they must contain original signatures and must be accompanied by the qualifying fee. There is only one qualifying period for political party candidates, it opens at 9:00 am on Monday, March 2 and concludes Friday, March 6, at 12:00 noon. Candidates should be mindful that some offices have forms that are required in addition to the declaration and affidavit.
There are two options for qualifying fees; the candidate may pay the prescribed qualifying fee, or submit a Pauper’s Affidavit and Qualifying Petition. The Secretary of State has a prescribed form for the Pauper’s Affidavit and Qualifying Petition and no affidavit or petition will be accepted if they do not conform. Candidates seeking to qualify as a pauper must list their total income, assets, liabilities, and other relevant information indicating their inability to pay the required qualifying fee. No affidavit will be accepted unless a qualifying petition has been filed. Each qualifying petition for a candidate seeking a county level office must be signed by at least 1% of the total number of registered voters eligible to vote in the last election for the filling of the office the candidate is seeking and the signers of the petition must be registered and eligible to vote in the election at which the candidate is seeking election. Please contact the Board of Elections and Registration for help determining the number of signatures required for your petition.
It is essential to remember that each page of the Qualifying Petition must contain the signer’s affidavit and petition signatures on the front and the circulator’s affidavit on the back. Additionally, it is imperative that candidates remember that no notary public may sign the petition as an elector or serve as the circulator of any petition which he or she has notarized. Any and all sheets of a petition that have the circulator’s affidavit notarized by a notary public who also served as a circulator of one or more sheets of the petition or who signed one of the sheets of the petition as an elector will be disqualified and rejected.
Under the Ethics in Government Act, candidates are required to file several financial disclosure documents. The Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission (GGTCFC) is a great resource for education about what forms need to be filed when and with whom those forms should be filed.
The Putnam County Board of Elections and Registration is the local filing entity for county offices. The Board utilizes a program called EasyCampaignFinance that allows candidates and office holders to file their documents online. After a document is submitted to the filing officer, it is reviewed, either accepted or rejected, then either efaxed to the GGTCFC or sent back to the filer with notes of corrections that need to be made.
Candidates will need to file the following documents before they can begin making campaign expenditures or accepting campaign donations:
- Declaration of Intention to Accept Campaign Contributions (FORM DOI)
- Personal Financial Disclosure Statement (PFDS)
- Campaign Contribution Disclosure Report (CCDR)
Each filing has a deadline and the late fees can be very high and compound quickly. Call the Board of Elections and Registration for more information on filing dates and access to the EasyCampaignFinance program. Candidates are strongly encouraged to utilize the candidate education resources on the GGTCFC website.
2020 Qualifying Information—Republican Candidates
Qualifying will be held Monday-Thursday 9:00 am-4:00 pm and Friday from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon in the Board of Elections and Registration Conference Room.
2020 Qualifying Information—Democratic Candidates