Election Prep 101 guide serves local candidates
Writer: Mr. Robert Nathan Gregory, MSU Extension Service
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Aspiring candidates for 2019 county elections now have a one-stop shop online where they can find information they need as they prepare their campaigns.
The Mississippi State University Extension Service has launched Election Prep 101, an online resource designed for anyone wanting to run for county office next year.
Jason Camp, an instructor with the MSU Extension Center for Government and Community Development, said he hopes this new site, which features videos and print resources on local election requirements, will be useful not only to newcomers to local politics, but also to incumbents and voters.
“Sometimes candidates are not completely up to speed with some mandatory responsibilities they assume once they qualify for office,” Camp said. “Everyone who runs is required to file campaign finance reports and statements of economic interest for public view. Our new site provides information on how and when to file these reports.”
Candidates can begin qualifying for chancery clerk, circuit clerk, constable, coroner, county attorney, justice court judge, sheriff, supervisor, surveyor and tax assessor/collector on Jan. 3, 2019. Election Prep 101 has information about each of these offices, including criteria to run, duties of office and sample qualifying forms.
“The idea is to remove the unknowns of running for county office. Right now, the resources are out there, but they’re sometimes hard to find,” Camp said. “We’re trying to streamline the research in a way that improves accessibility to all the materials potential candidates need by putting them in one place in order to make sure potential candidates understand all of the legal requirements for seeking election to local office.”
The microsite also helps those exploring running for these positions learn more about what to take into consideration, qualifying, reporting campaign finances and ethics. It includes links to state election law, lists of upcoming elections and information on polling places and contacting elected officials.
Sumner Davis, head of the Extension Center for Government and Community Development, said he hopes the site will help people better understand local government.
“Increased civic involvement is something Mississippi communities need to continue functioning and developing,” Davis said. “Local governments have the most direct effects on constituents of any public service, and we feel this new Extension resource helps us fulfill our mission of assisting our county and municipal leaders across the state.”
The Office of the Secretary of State of Mississippi worked with MSU Extension to produce these online materials.
“We are proud to partner with the Office of the Secretary of State to provide videos that help explain the qualification process to potential candidates and voters,” Camp said.