Political hopefuls take note: The window to file to run for some 2020 elected offices opens in less than a month.
Beginning at noon on Nov. 4, would-be candidates will have one week to file to run for offices at the state and county levels of government, as well as for local school board seats that will be up for election in 2020.
The filing window for those positions will close at noon on Nov. 12, and all races will be contested at either the March 3 primary or the Nov. 3 general election.
The filing period for run for a municipal position like a city council member, city clerk or recorder/treasurer does not open until noon on July 29 and closes at noon on Aug. 5. Municipal races are nonpartisan contests and will appear on the general election ballot.
“People don’t think about it’s election time again, but that day is getting closer,” Baxter County Clerk Canda Reese said. “A lot of people are not aware that to run for certain offices in 2020, you will need to file this November.”
Locally, all justice of the peace and constable positions in both Baxter and Marion counties will be up for election in 2020.
In Baxter County school board races, Luke Walker’s Position 2 seat on the Cotter school board will be up for election, as will Levi Haught’s Position 1 seat on the Norfork school board. The Mountain Home school board will have two seats up for election, Bill Wehmeyer’s Position 5 seat and Jason Schmeski’s Position 7 seat.
In Marion County, Brent Mitchell’s Position 2 seat on the Flippin school board will be up for election, as will Travis Dozier’s Position 4 seat on the Yellville-Summit school board.
So far, the only contested race in the Twin Lakes Area is between Rep. Nelda Speaks and Mountain Home City Council member Paige Dillard Evans for Speaks’ District 100 seat in the state House of Representatives. Both candidates will have already announced their campaigns and will appear on Republican ballots for the March 3 primary election.
Would-be candidates for offices like justice of the peace and constable must pay a filing fee with their chosen political party and complete a political practice pledge with the county clerk’s office. Candidates wishing to run as independents do not file with a political party but must collect a certain percentage of signatures based on the voting pool of their district.
“That number (of signatures) varies district by district,” Reese said. “It’s something that we would have to look up on a case-by-case basis.”
School board races are nonpartisan contests, with candidates required to collect 20 signatures from registered voters living inside the school district to be eligible to run.
“That’s 20 valid signatures, so we tell people to collect 30 or more just to be safe,” Reese said. “You don’t want to have a signature be declared invalid and not have enough to qualify.”
If it seems a bit early to be thinking about the 2020 elections, that’s because it is. The Arkansas Legislature earlier this year voted to move the state’s primary elections up from May to March in presidential election years.
The first primary event of 2020 will take place in Iowa on Feb. 3, when both the Democratic and Republican parties will hold caucuses in the Hawkeye State. New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina will also hold primaries in February.
Arkansas’ March 3 primary will be part of “Super Tuesday”, a supersized day where 15 states and American Samoa will all hold primary elections.
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