The Guilford County Board of Elections involuntarily ran a two-for-one special when it came to the candidate filing period this political season.
But, despite some hiccups due to the NC Supreme Court and political redistricting battles, the county’s elections office got everyone registered while working through the problems created by the start-and-stop nature of this year’s filing process.
The candidate filing period opened up on Monday, Dec. 6 and it closed – three months later – at noon on Friday, March 4. However, in between those start and end dates, the candidate filing period saw a long hiatus as the NC Supreme Court suspended filing on Wednesday, Dec. 8.
On Friday afternoon, March 4, with the candidate sign-in book finally sealed and delivered, Guilford County Board of Elections Director Charlie Collicutt said that, despite the court battles and delays, the filing process in Guilford County went relatively smoothly.
But it did cause him some angst along the way. In fact, the day before filing reopened on Thursday, Feb. 24, there were still legal battles taking place and some uncertainly about the process.
“I sent the press release out and then monitored everything,” Collicutt said, adding that it was only late at night on Wednesday, Feb. 23 when it became certain the filing period would reopen for sure.
The county’s elections director said that not only did staff have to deal with the changing filing dates – they also had to adjust filing procedure for the COVID-19 pandemic.
One pandemic-related rule was that candidates couldn’t enter the elections office in the Old Guilford County Court House. There’s a wide service window connected to the first-floor hallway that could be used for filing – but Collicutt said the elections office opened up the Blue Room for that purpose. That’s a large conference room that sits on the first floor of the Old Guilford Couty Court House in downtown Greensboro just down the hall from the elections office. He said that gave everyone a chance to spread out and have some space while filing.
Collicutt said that the service window could have gotten crowded at peak filing times if that was the only option.
Candidates could file at the Guilford County Elections Office in High Point. However, those who chose to do so had to make an appointment ahead of time.
Collicutt also said it was a particularly heavy year for filing with a lot of seats up for grabs. This year, there are races for the NC Senate and NC House of Representatives, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners, the Guilford County Board of Education, sheriff, clerk of Superior Court as well as for Greensboro City Council seats and Greensboro mayor.
Those running in select races could register either at a county elections office or in Raleigh. When they chose to file in the county office, that meant Collicutt and his staff had more work to do since the paperwork in that case was more involved.