Williams City Clerk Eleanor Addison prepares the application/ information packet for candidates in the upcoming 2004 local elections. The packets will be available Nov. 10 through Dec. 10 only.
Those wishing to campaign for seats are required not only to register with the city, but also to fill out forms included in the packet.
Addison explained that three of the packet’s six required forms are due no earlier than Nov. 10, but no later than Dec. 10 and are as follows: the Non-Partisan Nomination Petition, a Nominating Paper/Affidavit of Qualification, and the Local Public Officer’s Financial Disclosure Statement.
The petition — a document of nomination and community support — must have between 31 and 62 signatures from local residents eligible to vote. The nominating paper is a form stating that the candidate will be running for office, is qualified to do so, and has read and understands all campaign finance and reporting laws. The financial disclosure reports, as a matter of public record, the basic finances of a candidate which include business ownership, real property ownership, debts, gifts, bonds and licenses, but leave privacy for the candidate and their family on some issues.
Also included in the packet are Political Committee Statement of Organization and $500 Threshold Exemption Statement forms. If a candidate expects to spend or receive more than $500 for campaigning, they must form themselves into a committee and keep updated financial report forms (also included in the packet), otherwise they submit the threshold statement.
The sixth and final form is a termination statement, which is used when the elections are over and a candidate’s campaign committee is disbanded.
Candidates may also take advantage of useful guidelines contained in the package with information on rules and regulations regarding campaigns and elected officials.
Also on the 2004 ballot will be a referendum by the Williams Hospital District.
“It’s actually something we have to do every five years,” says Williams Health Care Center Clinic Manager Cindy Christman. “It is a referendum asking the community if we can continue to collect a secondary property tax for operation and maintenance of this facility.”
The city of Williams primary elections are slated for March 9, 2004 with the general election on May 18. Addison states that as of yet, no measures, ordinances or resolutions are on the ballot — just seats open for election/re-election. Balloting for both dates (if needed) will take place at the First Baptist Church at Seventh and Grant from 6 a.m.-7 p.m. If a particular candidate gets 50 percent or more of the votes cast for a seat in the primary election, the candidate will win at that time and no general election will be held for that seat. Otherwise, the primaries will chop down the list of candidates running for a selected seat to the two most popular who will then run against each other in the general election.
“Williams normally has a large turnout for voting,” says Addison. “We have 1,482 active registered voters right now. In the last elections, we had 1,475. Of those, 612 votes were cast for a 41 percent turnout — much higher than the 25-30 percent average, as a matter of fact.”
Voters may also notice something new in the upcoming elections — ballots will now be optically scanned.
“All Arizona counties that were using punch-cards are going to be using optical scanners, where you fill in an oval, much like you would on a test,” explains Coconino County Recorder Candace Owens. “We’ve been waiting for this for a long time. The optical scanners will, one, allow voters to change their ballots if a mistake is made … and, two, whereas we used to have to wait for all the ballots to be delivered to us for counting, now they can modem the results to our central computer.”
Deadline for voter registration for the 2004 primary elections is February 9.