February 14, 2002

County Clerk Will Determine Local Ballot Placement With Lottery

No one likes to wait in line, so the recent announcement by Scotland County Clerk Betty Lodewegen that her office will use a lottery system for ballot placement instead of the former, first come, first serve option, will come as a relief to most candidates.

Typically political strategists will tell you that the candidate listed first on the ballot has an advantage. Because of that mindset, candidates often found themselves lining up at the county clerk's office the night before the election to try to be the first person in line to file the following morning.

"Four years ago the candidates started showing up out in front of my office around 2:00 p.m. on the day before filing opened," Scotland County Clerk Betty Lodewegen said. "This process will keep people from feeling they have to beat everyone else here to file."

Candidates filing on the first day of the filing period will draw a number out of the hat to determine placement on the ballot. This lottery system will be used only for the first day of filing. Anyone announcing their candidacy following the opening day will be placed on the ballot in the order in which they filed.

As part of the filing process, candidates will draw from a container with at least 25 numbers. At the end of the first day, if there are multiple candidates filing for an office under the same party, the names of the candidates will be listed in ascending order of the numbers drawn. Numbers drawn by candidates will not be released until the end of the day and candidates will be permitted to draw just one time.

Local election authorities have the option under state law of conducting a random drawing for the first day filing. This will be the first year Scotland County has used the process.

The filing period opens at 8:00 a.m. February 26 and closes at 5:00 p.m. March 26.

Candidates will be filing for the following offices on the 2002 ballot: prosecuting attorney, presiding county commissioner, circuit clerk and recorder, county clerk, treasurer, collector, and associate circuit court judge.

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