Candidate thrown out; paperwork problems are cited

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 19, 2000

Election commissioner hopeful Johnny Brewer has been eliminated from the District 1 race with Warren County supervisors citing a snafu in the qualification process.

He met the filing deadline, but verification of signatures on his petition did not – so incumbent Lena Corbin will appear on the Nov. 7 ballot without opposition.

Brewer, who once wrote a letter to the editor saying election commissioners had failed to follow state law in assigning poll workers of both major political parties, said he was surprised to be ejected.

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“I asked if that was all I need to do and they said ‘yes,'” Brewer said of Sept. 8 when he turned in paperwork a half-hour before the courthouse closed on deadline day. Other candidates filed the same day, and their petitions were verified.

“It seems strange to me that mine was the only one not approved,” Brewer said.

Supervisors based their vote to deny Brewer a ballot listing Monday, saying his paperwork had not been certified by the chancery clerk before the deadline.

“According to the law, it is supposed to be done by the close of business on the 8th,” said board president Richard George.

Normally, election commissioners are responsible for certifying candidates in all county elections – but not for election commission races. By statute, supervisors certify election commission candidates.

According to Warren County Circuit Clerk Larry Ashley, Brewer filed his paperwork, including the signatures of more than 50 registered voters in District 1, with his office on Sept. 8. The petition was filed that Friday, but the signatures were not verified as registered voters until the following Monday.

“It takes some time,” Ashley said. He added that the paperwork was not filed until 4:30 p.m. The clerk’s office closes at 5 p.m.

It was not clear if Brewer would have been approved as a candidate if he had filed with the chancery clerk’s office, but he was not the only candidate to file in the circuit clerk’s office before filing in the chancery clerk’s office.

All of the other eight candidates in the election commission races filed at the circuit clerk’s office before filing with the chancery clerk’s office. Two other candidates, Karoline Finch in District 5 and incumbent LaShondra Williams in District 3, filed on Sept. 8. Both were certified by the chancery clerk’s office on the same day.

Finch said her paperwork was filed around 2:30 p.m. that day.

Although the circuit clerk’s office is responsible for verifying the signatures on the petition, candidates for election commission had to file with the chancery clerk’s office before the Sept. 8 deadline, according to David Blount of the Secretary of State’s Office.

After that, it is up to the board of supervisors to approve or reject a candidate, Blount said.

Without Brewer’s name on the ballot, Corbin will be unopposed in the District 1 race. Williams will face Nancy Clingan, and Finch will face incumbent Gordon “Motor” Carr.

District 2’s Retha Summers faces no opposition, and incumbent James E. McMullin will face Bobbie Williamson in the District 4 race.