vanessa-newVanessa Remmers covers Stafford County government and schools for and The Free Lance-Star.

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County registrar, state prepare for special election

Local elections just wrapped up two months ago, but Stafford County is getting ready to put at least one, if not two positions, back on the ballot.

Candidates for the supervisor and school board member representing the Garrisonville District will likely both be up for election this spring.

(Update: Turns out the new school board does not think the April 3 date set for the Garrisonville Supervisor election would be enough time for potential school board candidates to campaign. Here’s the story from Stafford schools reporter Amy Umble about Tuesday’s school board meeting.)

Monday night, school board member Ty Schieber was selected to replace Mark Dudenhefer as an interim supervisor. But he’ll be leaving his school board post mid-term to fill that seat. The board will likely be discussing the new vacancy at tonight’s meeting.

“I can’t imagine the courts picking one date for this race and one date for that race,” said Stafford’s Registrar Greg Riddlemoser, who previously told the Board of Supervisors that it’ll cost about $8,000 to implement a special election in Garrisonville’s three precincts.

Today, he explained to me the steps to hold a special election:

The Board of Supervisors requested a writ of election from the circuit court for the selected date of Tuesday, April 3.

The judge could potentially change the date, but April 3 is the “will of the board.”

Then, the State Board of Election will issue a candidates bulletin with the requirements to be on the ballot.

Potential candidates must file 60 days before the election date—by Feb. 3.

Because it’s a special election, political parties can’t have primaries. Riddlemoser says the most likely option is for the Democratic and Republican parties of Stafford to select their candidates through caucuses, if they decide to back a candidate for the election.

For someone to run independently, they must get 125 valid signatures of registered voters in the Garrisonville District.

Campaigning could have technically started on Jan. 1.

The SBE will hold a drawing to decide which party’s candidate is listed first on the ballot; independent candidates are then listed alphabetically. The ballot will not list party affiliation, of course.

Also, the interim supervisor is not required to run in the special election, though the board members have said they’d want Schieber to run.

“They’re just holding the seat until the scheduled election,” Riddlemoser said.

Both Garrisonville seats are up for election again in November 2013, so the special elections would fill those seats for the remaining two years of the terms.

The last time the county had a special election was in December 2007. It was a multi-jurisdiction election because Congresswoman Jo Ann Davis (June 29, 1950 – October 6, 2007) died while in office.

Here are some other facts about Garrisonville:

The population of the district in 2000 was 13,856; according to the redistricting after the 2010 Census, it was 18,601. As of today, there are 5,853 “housing units” in Garrisonville.

There are 11,349 registered voters in Stafford as of Jan. 3.