Lincoln County Commissioners this week decided that although they’ve been relatively happy that all three commissioners have been democratic party members for a number of years, maybe it’s time to mix things up and make party affiliation a thing of the past for the position of county commissioner. Commission chairman Bill Hall says a fourth of all Lincoln County voters belong to neither party and so they really have no say in picking who will survive the primary election in order to run again in the general.
Hall said in the interest in broadening public involvement in elections the commission has decided begin the process of possibly making commission seats non-partisan. If the commission becomes non-partisan, candidates won’t have to be a “D” or an “R” in order to be eligible to run in the primary. As it is now, democrat and republican candidates face each other in the May primary. The top vote-getter in each race face off in November. Between the primary and the general, everyone else who wants to be a commissioner must file a petition, with several hundred voter signatures, to qualify for a spot on the November ballot.
But if the voters this May approve a commission change to non-partisan, commission candidates will file for the primary and then the two top vote getters for each commissioner position will advance to the general in November.
To talk about this possible change to non-partisanship, the commission will hold two public hearings; one on February 6th, another on February 20th. On the 20th, the commission will likely decide whether to submit the issue to Lincoln County voters. If voters strike down party affiliation, candidates who want want a shot at a county commission seat can start saving up for the fifty bucks it’ll cost them to file for the May Primary in 2014. That’s when Commissioners Doug Hunt and Terry Thompson will be making up their minds on whether they want a shot at another term. If a candidate for a particular county commission seat wins a majority of the primary vote, they will be elected outright without having to have their name appear on the November ballot. But if neither candidate wins a majority, the top two candidates will advance to the general election in November.
County Commissioner seats #1 and #3 are up for election in 2014. That’s Doug Hunt and Terry Thompson. Seat #2 currently, held by Commissioner Bill Hall, comes up in 2016.