MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – You want to meet some busy people? Meet the folks at the Shelby County Election Commission.
They’re going to be busy people as they look over the signatures on petitions for all those who want to be candidates in the city election.
They have petitions from 153 people. So their offices look like it was hit by a paperwork volcano.
There’s no lava, no molten hot magma, but man have they got some signatures to check out.
According to Shelby County Elections Administrator Linda Phillips, “The typical candidate would bring in a petition with 50 to 75 signatures. It generally takes four to six hours to check one petition.”
Linda Phillips has told Shelby County Commissioners, reporters, anybody who will listen to her, really -she needs more help.
When things like checking petition signatures hit the office, everybody digs in, everybody they can find anyway.
“We do have a very rigorous audit program,” she says. “We will audit all of these. We double check to make sure they’re perfect. We have to make sure the ballot name is exactly as we have it.”
Sometimes the people who sign petitions don’t live in Shelby County. They are tossed out.
Sometimes the people who run for office aren’t legally qualified. They are tossed out.
It has to be done this way.
“It’s critical,” Phillips says. ” it’s absolutely critical.”
They will end up changing the list of candidates, especially those who pulled petitions for several offices.
“You can only run for one office,” she says, “… so whichever petition they turned in, they made a decision when they turned it in.”
The election commission will certify the candidates next Thursday. Thursday is also the deadline day for those who change their minds and don’t want to run for office.