Those interested in filing for elected office in Hall County can do so beginning Monday.
According to Hall County Election Commissioner Tracy Overstreet, the offices up for election include Districts 2, 4 and 6 in the Hall County Board of Commissioners (which the Hall County Board of Supervisors will become in January 2020); all wards of the Grand Island City Council; three seats on the Northwest Public Schools Board of Education; and four seats on the Grand Island Public Schools Board of Education.
Other positions up for election are the Hall County Airport Authority, Hall County Weed Board and Hall County public defender. Local school and village boards also have seats up for election.
Overstreet said incumbents have until Feb. 18 to file for election, while nonincumbents have until March 2. She said any person currently holding elected office is considered an incumbent, regardless of whether they seek election to a board they are currently on, or to another board. For example, a person currently on the Northwest Public Schools Board of Education who wishes to run for the Hall County Board of Commissioners would need to file as an incumbent.
When a person comes into her office in the Hall County Administration Building to file for election to an elected office, Overstreet said, an interested candidate will need to fill out a form with questions that include their personal information. From there, the candidate will sign it, date it and pay the applicable filing fees.
She said information on the filing fees and where they are paid is on the frequently-asked questions for candidates section listed on the homepage of the Hall County election commissioner’s website. According to the FAQ list, the filing fee is 1% of the official’s salary — $309 for the Hall County Board of Commissioners and $78 for the Grand Island City Council. There is no filing fee to be on a school board in Hall County.
“I will also talk with candidates about whether they need a constituent list and what we can provide to help in that regard,” Overstreet said. “Sometimes people are just thinking about it and are not sure about filing. They may need to get a little bit more information about what is open for election and they may want to talk to their family about it.
“Or they may even want to talk to people who have served in that role in the past. So if they want to come in and just ask questions about it, all of that is confidential.”
She added that for certain elected positions — mainly county-level ones — there is a financial statement filed with her office that goes to the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission.
“It is not the amount of assets you have, but it is the type of assets that you have, whether it is real estate or income from a paid position or investments,” Overstreet said.
“The reason that is taken is because the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission receives that information and is the steward of those documents. They are in charge of campaign finance regulations and are looking for if you would have any influence from organizations.”
When it comes to school boards that have district boundaries in more than one county, she said, candidates interested in filing for those boards need to file in the county where the district is headquartered. So those interested in filing for the Northwest Public Schools Board of Education would file in Hall County, while those interested in filing for the Centura Public Schools Board of Education would file in Howard County.
Legislative races are filed with the Nebraska secretary of state’s office. The odd-numbered legislative districts are up for election this year.
Overstreet said all individuals, not just candidates, can check which wards they are in, as well as their polling site and other voter registration information at https://www.votercheck.necvr.ne.gov/. She added individuals can also call her office at (308) 385-5085 and she or her assistant will look up the information for them.
“Some people are not sure what City Council or school ward they are in, but they might recognize their representative’s name,” she said. “So we put incumbent’s name on the candidate filing form, too, so they can recognize it one way or the other.”
Overstreet said the FAQ on the Hall County election commissioner’s website lists things such as what offices are up for election, their length of term, what requirements are required for offices such as public defender, and what the salaries are if there are any.
She said motivation for people to run for office comes down to either keeping what is important to you or striving to make changes to improve things.
“I think everybody would have a category in one or the other,” Overstreet said. “They might want to continue the legacy that an elected leader has provided for the community and they want to be the next chapter to that. Or they may want to be a change agent to implement some new chapter in a political subdivision’s history. People can be a part of that and it is really important to have that public service. I would encourage everyone to think about stepping up and doing that.”
Once a person files for an elected office, she said, the filings will be listed online at https://bit.ly/2XZJnZ1 and will be updated daily or multiple times a day as filings come in.