Rev. Lorenzo Heard has officially qualified as a write-in candidate for the at-large seat on the Dougherty County Board of Education. However, many in the community are scratching their heads as to what that means come November.
First, it may mean nothing.
Heard still has a day in court coming up which may land his name on the ballot, rather than just have a way to be voted for. Observers have noted that Heard and his camp were smart to make sure Heard’s supporters would have at least some way to vote for him come November.
It should be noted that sources within the Heard camp have indicated that this move had no bearing on his appeal of the Dougherty County Board of Elections decision to exclude him from the ballot. “We’re just making sure people can vote for Rev. Heard in November,” the source said, speaking anonymously as he wasn’t expressly authorized by the campaign to speak with the press.
Heard’s appeal still faces significant obstacles, as there were reportedly three strikes against his candidacy. One, the lack of a sufficient number of signatures, Heard’s attorney to have stemmed from a mistake by the elections office made in calculating the correct number of signatures needed. The other two, the lack of an original notice of candidacy and Heard’s reported failure to pay his qualifying fee, still need to be addressed.
Regardless, observers note that Heard’s best chance at winning lies in having his name on the ballot. Write-in candidates rarely score victories in elections, while Heard would enjoy a bit of a bump with his name falling first on a printed ballot as many voters will select the first candidate listed.