City election season begins

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 11, 2008

DEMOPOLIS &8212; With the presidential race entering its final leg in the national political sphere, the municipal election season is just gearing up close to home with a little less than three months before qualifying time.

All five seats in the city council along with the mayoral seat will be up for grabs at the election on Aug. 26. At least two current councilmen, District 2 Councilman Thomas Moore and District 5 Councilman Jack Cooley, have confirmed plans to seek re-election this fall. When asked about a potential bid for re-election, Mayor Cecil P. Williamson would not confirm her intentions.

But at least two other city residents have shown interest in city seats. The Rev. Mitchell Congress, who served on the city council from 1988-1992, confirmed his intentions to run for a city position, but had not decided whether or not to run for a council seat or the mayor&8217;s position.

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Mike Grayson, a Demopolis businessman, and former mayoral candidate officially announced his intentions to run for the mayor&8217;s seat.

All candidates will have from July 1-15 to submit their qualifying paperwork to the city clerk. If they do not submit the proper qualifying documentation in that time they will not be eligible to run for city office.

In order to run for an office, a candidate must reside in the city limits and have been a resident for at least 90 days prior to the election. Also, in the state code governing municipal elections, there is a distinction drawn between a temporary residence and a permanent residence. To qualify for candidacy, a candidate must have established permanent residency.

Furthermore, a candidate does not establish a legal residence by stating his or her intention to reside in a particular district, they must have physical address in the district in which they are running.

The state code also states if there is a question about whether a candidate does not meet qualifications, no city officials can make a judgment, rather the decision must be made based on the opinion of the district attorney or by court order.

Last but not least, candidates are required to pay a qualifying fee before they can officially have their names put on a ballot. A final provision according to the Alabama League of Municipalities is that there can be no right in candidates in a municipal election.