Voters will elect same DeKalb position twice

The DeKalb County tax commissioner’s race will be on the ballot twice May 24.

One of the votes will be a special election for the last seven months of the current four-year term. Former Tax Commissioner Claudia Lawson retired Dec. 31.

The other vote will be the primary election for the four-year term beginning Jan. 1. The general election is Nov. 8.

The process to fill the tax commissioner’s vacancy was unclear because of three conflicting laws, according to a Feb. 8 memo from DeKalb County Attorney O.V. Brantley.

Brantley’s analysis concluded that having a separate vote for the special election is necessary.

“It is my opinion that you should hold a special election to fill the remainder of Ms. Lawson’s unexpired term with no incumbent on the ballot,” Brantley wrote.

Because there will be no incumbent, Tax Commissioner Irvin Johnson won’t have an “I” next to his name on the May 24 ballot. Johnson was Lawson’s chief deputy before taking over for her.

Candidates may qualify to run in the races in March, but they’ll have to pay the qualifying fee twice if they want to run in both the special election and the primary.

The qualifying fee is $3,282.78 for each of the two tax commissioner elections — $6,565.56 total.

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