Inyo County’s registered voters will visit polling places twice this year, with local supervisorial seats and other open public offices coming with the June 5 Primary Election and the Nov. 6 Presidential Election.
Several prospective candidates and incumbents have taken out election papers, specifically Petitions for Signatures in Lieu of Filing Fees. This does not mean the political hopefuls will be on the ballot in June, but rather that at this point they have shown interest in running for the respective positions.
As of this week, a race for the Second Supervisorial District looks to be taking shape with incumbent Susan Cash, local business owner Russ Aldridge and current Bishop City Council member Jeff Griffiths having taken out papers for that seat.
Incumbent Marty Fortney and challenger Nina Weisman are looking into racing for the Fourth District seat that includes most of the central portion of the county.
And, three hopefuls are eyeing the Fifth District Supervisorial seat: incumbent Richard Cervantes, Lone Pine school board member Matt Kingsley and soon-to-be-retired Los Angeles Department of Water and Power employee Jim Gentry.
The Petitions for Signatures in Lieu of Filing Fee are due Feb. 23. This is a petition for candidates to gather signatures instead of paying all or some of the filing fees associated with declaring candidacy. A minimum of 20 signatures and a maximum of 40 are needed to file in lieu of fees. While there are filing fees required of candidates vying for paid positions, such as a Board of Supervisors seat, there are no fees for salary-free positions such as school boards and country central committees.
Declaration of Candidacy papers, which officially places a person as a candidate on the ballot, are due between Feb. 14 and March 9.
Other open seats this June include Inyo County Board of Education Areas 2 and 4 and several county central committee spots.
The rules for becoming a candidate for local offices are straightforward.
According to the “Candidate’s Guide” offered by the county’s Elections Department, the requirements for running for county supervisor are: “Each member shall have been a registered voter of the district which he seeks to represent for at least 30 days immediately preceding the deadline for filing nomination documents for the office of supervisor, and shall reside in the district during his incumbency.”
The requirements for becoming a board member of the Inyo County Board of Education are: “Any registered voter, who shall be a registered voter of the district which he or she represents, is eligible to be a member of the county board of education except the county superintendent of schools, any member of his staff, or any employee of a school district.”
There are several new voting regulations for Californians for 2012, some of which deal with county central committees.
Proposition 14, approved by voters in June 2011, created the “Top Two Candidates Open Primary Act.” Offices that used to be known as “partisan offices” such as state constitutional offices, Congress and state legislative offices, are now known as “voter-nominated” offices. Exceptions are the office of U.S. president and members of a County Central Committee.
“County Central Committees are now known as party-nominated offices. Only persons who are registered members of a political party may run for office of that political party,” states the candidacy guide book.
For more information, consult the guide book at http://www.inyocounty.us/Recorder/Election%20Information.htm  or call the Elections Office at (760) 878-0410.