Qualifying opens and closes next week for Nelson residents who want to run for a seat on the Nelson City Council. By council terms normally expiring, three council seats come open at the end of this year. A fourth seat stands open now, due to the recent resignation of Paul Feldman who formerly served.
A special election to fill the remainder of Feldman's uncompleted term will be added to Nelson's Municipal General Election ballot, a ballot that will include the other three seats to be filled. That General Election is to occur Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at Nelson City Hall.
As with most any modern election in the county, early voting and advance voting at the Pickens County Elections Office will precede the November 8 election. The Pickens County Elections Office is at 83 Pioneer Road in Jasper, near Chattahoochee Technical College and City Park.
Qualifying of candidates to run for those Nelson Council seats coming up for a vote in November begins Monday. Qualifying opens Monday, August 29, at the Pickens County Elections Office. Qualifying closes with the close of the Elections Office work day the following Friday, September 2.
The Elections Office is open daily Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. except while closed for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to half past noon. The qualifying fee for each Nelson Council candidate is $25.
By the Nelson city charter, council members are elected by plurality. That means, with election results counted, council candidates are ranked according to the number of votes each received. Then open council seats are filled from this list, starting from the top of the list with the candidate who received the most votes. Three Nelson council seats will be filled in this way, given the results of the November election.
Filling Paul Feldman's unexpired term will be handled differently. Candidates wishing to run for that seat must declare that intention. And only one of the candidates running in that race can win a council seat.
The qualifying fee for any Nelson Council candidate is $25.
The three Nelson Council members whose present terms conclude with the end of 2011 are Johnny Hopkins, Penny Thacker and Martha Tipton. The Progress sought to learn which of these incumbents will seek re-election.
"Right now I'm still undecided," Penny Thacker said. "I'm not 100 percent either way. Isn't that terrible? I don't want to [run again], but I guess it's according to who qualifies next week. I've worked too dang hard to turn this town over to just anybody."
Contacted at work on the teller line of Jasper Banking Company, Martha Tipton had to keep her comment brief. "I've not made my mind up yet," she said. "I'll probably wait to the last minute."
Asked if he would seek re-election, Johnny Hopkins said, “I’m definitely not going to.” Hopkins listed the long-running power struggle between Nelson Mayor David Leister and the council as one reason he would bow out. He listed personal reasons also. He has served 13 years on the council, Hopkins said.
“I’m just tired and disgusted,” he said.