Pauls Valley Democrat
It took only minutes for Garvin County election officials to say no to a Stratford city council candidate on the grounds he wasn’t qualified to run for the office.
All three members of the Garvin County Election Board were quick to agree during a brief Monday hearing that Randall Jolley’s name should not go on the ballot because he hadn’t been a registered voter in Stratford for a long enough period of time.
Jolley’s candidacy was being contested by Sean McKinney, who was proven right in his claim that Jolley really was not qualified to run for the two-year unexpired term of the Ward 1 Board of Trustees office in Stratford.
Just last week both McKinney and Jolley filed to run for the office, which had originally been scheduled for an election next month.
“Mr. Jolley was not registered to vote in time to be a candidate for the ballot,” said Election Board Secretary Doylene Cunningham. “He had to be registered for a least six months.
“I make a motion we accept the contest and strike Jolley from the ballot. Officially you have no opponent,” she said to McKinney, who was present for the brief hearing despite the fact he underwent gallbladder surgery just days ago.
Carol Dillingham, assistant district attorney advising the Election Board, said the issue was really settled since Jolley did not appear to present any type of argument supporting his candidacy.
“If he does not appear he waives his right to contest the petition,” Dillingham said.
“There will be no need for a special election.”
In an official petition contesting the candidacy, McKinney claimed his opponent had not been a registered voter long enough to qualify for a race involving an elected office.
Specifically, that meant being registered to vote in Stratford for a minimum period of six months before the candidate filings last week.
All three Election Board members — Chairman Pam Spaeth, Vice Chairman Doris Gottfried and Cunningham — agreed Jolley had not met the criteria and voted 3-0 to eliminate his name from the race.
It is known that Jolley’s voter registration application is so recent that officials with the Garvin County Election Board still don’t have it listed in their system.
McKinney said he filed for the office simply as a way to offer his help with city matters there in Stratford.
“I was highly encouraged by friends to run,” McKinney said moments after being declared the unopposed winner for the council seat.
“I just want to impact the community in any way that I can serve,” he said.
For the moment it remains unknown when Monday’s decision can be made official and when McKinney can be sworn into the council office. More information is sought from state election officials.
The items remaining on the Sept. 10 ballot are an Elmore City-Pernell school bond issue and a single city council race in Lindsay.
The $7.51 million issue for the ECP School District spread out over a series, if passed by at least 60 percent support, would go to construct a new gymnasium and convert ECP High School into a building with separated areas for middle school and high school students.
Scott McPherson and Ronny Harrell are set to compete for an unexpired council term in Lindsay.
Another special election could come later in the fall for voters in Maysville.
After the resignation of three council members in Maysville an election has been scheduled for Oct. 8 to let voters choose their replacements.
The filing period for prospective Maysville candidates is Aug. 26-28 at the Election Board office in Pauls Valley.