Municipal Election Candidate Qualifying Documents Give Rise to Additional Questions

Published on 7 September 2023 at 19:30

In review of the qualifying affidavits for the open city council and mayoral seats in the upcoming municipal election in November, it is notable that on nine of the affidavits, available below, there are omissions and/or what appear to be errors. It should also be noted that the documents were provided with all candidate bank account information visible on the documents of candidates who paid fees by check. I have redacted that information prior to providing the documents below for the security of the candidates as is standard when sharing publicly available documents. 

Examples of errors/omissions are not checking boxes that indicate the type of election or candidate (non-partisan, independent, special election) not stating the proper fee amount for the office sought and method of payment, not stating who the payment is made to on a check when paying for fees and paying the incorrect fee for the office sought. On the affidavits of Brent Bailey and Devito Owens, the office they are running for (city council/mayor) isn't listed at all. Bailey also indicated he is running as an incumbent although he is not currently an elected member of city council or the mayor. Some listed the incorrect county and others left the date of the election blank. The affidavits were all notarized by Wanda Dingler, city clerk. In speaking to Henry Crew, superintendent of elections for Wilkes County, the city of Washington has contracted with Wilkes County to manage the actual election however, certification of candidate qualification is the responsibility of the city. The Georgia Municipal Association provides a handbook that is available online that offers some clarification on the responsibilities of the clerk and superintendent in these situations. It is stated that anyone in the role of qualifying candidates, is required to complete education on the process. The Georgia Secretary of State's Office has a web page to help potential candidates obtain information regarding the process of qualifying in their county or city but Washington and Wilkes County are not listed. It is unclear how these omissions, errors or oversights may impact the upcoming municipal election. Coverage of this story is ongoing.


Reported by Michelle Chaffee

Mayoral Candidate Qualifying Documents

District 1 Candidate Qualifying Documents

District 2 Candidate Qualifying Documents

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