It’s official: Both races for the Oktibbeha County School District Board of Trustees in this year’s general election are now contested.
The deadline for county school board candidates to qualify was Friday. The District 2 and At-Large seats are the ones on the ballot this year.
Heading into the final week of qualifying this past week, only two incumbent school board members — Curtis Snell in the District 2 seat and Yvette Rice in the At-Large seat — had filed the necessary petitions to seek re-election.
Earlier this week, Marvin L. Williams qualified to challenge Snell in the District 2 seat. By Friday, Melvin Harris had qualified to challenge Rice for the At-Large seat.
County School Board members serve staggered six-year terms. Qualifying for the non-partisan school board races began Aug. 5.
To be placed on the ballot, candidates must have signed a statement of intent and submitted a petition containing the signatures of at least 50 registered voters from the district he or she seeks to represent.
The Circuit Clerk’s Office staff and Oktibbeha County Election Commission had verify the voter registration for each person who signed a candidate’s qualifying petition to ensure that at least 50 registered voters signed it, said Circuit Clerk Angie McGinnis. Otherwise, the candidate cannot be qualified under state law, she said.
In addition to submitting the required petition, a county school board candidate must live within the county school district and within the district for the seat for which he or she is running and be a registered voter from the district he or she seeks to represent.
Candidates must never have been convicted of a crime punishable by serving prison time or have been pardoned for such a crime.
In addition to the two county school board races, other races on the ballot for the November general election include those for Circuit Court and Chancery Court judge and for the U.S. House of Representatives.
With the passage of the qualifying races in the school board races, the State Election Commission — comprised of Gov. Haley Barbour, Attorney General Jim Hood and Secretary of State Delbert Hoseman — will be meeting this week to certify the publish the official state ballot.
Once that happens, absentee ballots will be ordered for the county, McGinnis said.
“This office will be working diligently to have absentee ballots prepared as soon as possible,” said McGinnis, reminding voters to watch local media for information about when absentee voting for the Nov. 2 general election will begin.
For more information on this year’s election, the Circuit Clerk’s Office may be reached by calling 323-1356 during regular business hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) Monday to Friday.
The office is located in the Oktibbeha County Courthouse Annex on West Main Street.