Lorenzo Heard’s journey to challenge Lane Price in November for the At-Large school board seat just got even longer. Infinitely longer, as a matter of fact, after the Dougherty County Board of Elections rejected his candidacy earlier today.
Elections supervisor Ginger Nickerson outlined the facts for the board. She described how Heard’s agent, Clinton Jones, brought the notice of candidacy for Heard to the office where a member of Nickerson’s staff told Jones that the form needed to be an original. It was later learned that the form was, in fact, an original. Nickerson reported to the board that she attempted to get Heard or his agent to bring the document back, as it had been dated and timestamped and would have been acceptable per the Secretary of State’s office.
Unfortunately for Heard, Nickerson reported that the document “had been destroyed.”
Many in the community have question Heard’s failure to pay his qualifying fee. Few would argue that they won’t pay the fee if they learned they wouldn’t be qualified as a candidate, which is what Jones had been told. In addition, late payment isn’t permitted under state law. In fact, had that been Heard’s only hurdle, he would have needed a court order to permit late payment.
It wasn’t the only hurdle.
The Board of Elections has been blasted by many in the community for having Nickerson and her staff count signatures. In this instance, it looks like it may have kept them out of court.
Nickerson reported that there were 1,672 verified signatures. Coupled with the signatures they were unable to verify immediately but were not tossed out due to technicalities, Heard had just 2,265 signatures. That was 646 signatures short of the required threshold laid out in state law.
With that, a motion was made that Heard’s candidacy be rejected as he had not met all the requirements for candidacy. The motion passed unanimously.