By Randy Arrington
LURAY, June 3 — As of Wednesday, 62 absentee ballots had been cast in Page County for the Republican U.S. Senate primary slated for June 23.
Originally set for June 9, the GOP primary was rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The ballot contains the names of Daniel Gade, Thomas Speciale and Alissa Baldwin — all vying for the party’s nomination to challenge Democratic incumbent Mark Warner in November.
Page County registrar Carol Gaunt said on Wednesday that all five traditional polling locations have been secured for the June 23 election and will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. They include:
- District 1 — Springfield Elementary;
- District 2 — Luray VFW Post;
- District 3 — Stanley Fire Hall;
- District 4 — Stanley Elementary;
- District 5 — Shenandoah VFW.
While polling locations have been secured, the county registrar still encourages voters to cast absentee ballots because of the current pandemic. However, if voters do make their way to the polls, the registrar is asking everyone to be safe during the process.
“We prefer that they wear masks, and we will have masks there for them to use,” Gaunt said. “It is not required, but we encourage it.”
The last day to request an absentee ballot by mail is Tuesday, June 16. The deadline to cast an absentee ballot in person is 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 20. Voters who choose this option are asked to enter the county office building on South Court Street through the rear entrance.
Photo ID will be required for in-person voting, both for absentee and at the polls. The deadline for registering for the June 23 primary was May 26.
The deadline for local candidates to file for the November election is 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 9. With the deadline looming less than a week away, there are still several open seats that have no candidates.
The Town of Luray will have three open seats on council, with the terms of Leroy Lancaster, Leah Pence and Joey Sours all expiring on Dec. 31.
Lancaster and Pence will not be seeking another four-year term on the Luray Council. Sours has been in contact with the county registrar, collected the necessary paperwork and is still in the process of collecting the required 125 signatures.
Jason Pettit, Ligon Webb and Judy Peabody have already filed their paperwork and been qualified by the registrar as candidates for town council.
As of Wednesday, only one person has filed to run for mayor of Luray — Councilman Jerry Dofflemyer. His election would open up an additional seat on the council. The potential vacancy would be filled by appointment through the end of 2021, and then at the polls during a special election next November to fill the remainder of the term through Dec. 31, 2022.
The terms of the other three council seats run through Dec. 31, 2024.
The Town of Stanley has three council seats on the ballot in November. The terms of Joseph Mauck and Jeremiah Knight expire Dec. 31, and a special election will be held to fill the remaining term of Mike Uram, who resigned suddenly from the Stanley Council in February.
Joseph Mauck told the county registrar that he will be submitting his paperwork this week, including the required 50 signatures. However, Jeremiah Knight has given no indication if he intends to retain his council seat.
Mayor Mike Knight has filed his paperwork and been qualified as a candidate to retain his seat as mayor.
The Stanley Council unanimously appointed former mayor Doug Purdham to fill Uram’s seat on April 8. The appointment runs through Dec. 31, 2020. Purdham has stated previously that he was uncertain if he would run to keep the seat in November.
As of Wednesday, Purdham had not filed any paperwork with the county registrar. Uram’s unexpired term runs through Dec. 31, 2022.
The four-year terms of the other two council seats, as well as the mayor, run through Dec. 31, 2024.
The Town of Shenandoah has three seats on council open this November, with the terms of Mike Lowe, Richard Pierce and Russ Comer all expiring on Dec. 31.
Richard Pierce is the only candidate that has filed and been qualified to run for the Shenandoah Council. According to the county registrar, Comer intends to run as a write-in candidate. Comer ran unopposed last fall in a special election to fill the unexpired term of late councilman David Hinkle, who passed away unexpectedly in May 2019. Lowe has still given no indication if he will collect the required 50 signatures and file his paperwork to retain his council seat this fall.
The office of mayor is also up for election in November, but so far no one has filed for the position. Longtime Mayor Clinton Lucas has given no indication if he plans to run for another two-year term extending his long tenure through Dec. 31, 2022.
The three council seats hold four-year terms running through Dec. 31, 2024.
SCHOOL BOARD CHAIRMAN
A new candidate has entered the race for chairman of the Page County School Board. The special election will be held in November to fill the unexpired term of Randy Bailey, who resigned Nov. 1, 2019, citing health reasons.
Jason Scott Breeden of Stanley dropped off paperwork Wednesday afternoon, according to the registrar, to file his candidacy for school board chairman. That paperwork, including the required 125 signatures, is currently under review.
Breeden will challenge former school administrator Paul Johnson, who has submitted his paperwork and been qualified as a candidate.
The special election will fill the unexpired term of Bailey, which runs through Dec. 31, 2021.
On Dec. 9, 2019, the Page County School Board appointed Jim Grimley as chairman, effective Jan. 1, 2020. His appointment ends Dec. 31, 2020. Grimley has given no indication that he intends to enter the race to retain his seat.
The county registrar also notes that the local office could also use additional volunteers as well. Volunteer recruitment information is on the state elections website.
Voters may also register on the state site, and all information recorded on the state site is then sent directly to the local office.
“If we don’t use them in June, we could use them in November, “ Gaunt said.
Anyone who is interested in volunteering, or who has questions about voter registration, absentee ballots, the upcoming primary in June or the general election in November, may do one of the following:
- Email county registrar, Carol Gaunt, at [email protected]
- Visit the state elections website at elections.virginia.gov
- Send U.S. Mail to: Page County Registrar, 103 S. Court St., Suite D, Luray, Va. 22835.
- Call the Page County Registrar’s Office at (540) 743-3986.