Carolyn Cosby, a 63-year-old Ball Ground resident and former head of the Canton T.E.A. Party, said she collected 7,750 signatures, more than the 5,982 signatures required to get her name on the Nov. 4 ballot.
“We feel like we’ve succeeded; it was a monumental task,” Cosby said Tuesday morning before walking into the Elections Office in Canton to submit her petition, along with a dozen or so of her supporters.
Before Cosby can secure a spot on the November ballot, at least 5,982 signatures have to be verified by the Elections Office by Aug. 1, said interim Elections Supervisor Kim Stancil.
“We will have seven to 10 people working on these petitions,” Stancil said, adding the process will come with a cost. “That many signatures, in that amount of time — we don’t have the staff to do that without the extra help.”
Cosby wasn’t the only person Tuesday to submit a petition to get on the November ballot.
Libertarian Jeff Amason submitted his petition to the Secretary of State’s office Tuesday morning, and Stancil said the Elections Office will have two weeks from today to verify the Cherokee County signatures.
Amason said he collected 2,700 signatures — exceeding the required 1,000 — for his petition to run against Rep. Scot Turner (R-Holly Springs) for the House District 21 seat.
Amason was required to get signatures from 1 percent of the number of voters eligible to vote for that office in 2012, Stancil said.
“The percentage is taken from the active registered voters eligible to vote for that office in the last General Election,” Stancil said.
Stancil said some of the more experienced poll workers will be brought in and paid to help run early voting at the Elections Office, while the staff concentrates on verifying thousands of signatures in the coming weeks.
“We’re not planning on using any outside people to work on the petition,” she said.
Elections Office personnel will be going through every page of the petitions of both candidates during the next few weeks — looking for each signer’s printed name, address and signature — to verify that the signer is a registered voter, Stancil said.
“Mrs. Cosby needed 5 percent of the active registered voters that were eligible to vote in the 2010 commission chairman election,” Stancil explained. “She had to come up with 5,982 signatures. So she turned in more than that, in case there were some that weren’t registered voters or the signatures didn’t match.”
Each signature stands alone, Stancil explained, “so, the page will not be thrown out if there’s a signature on it that doesn’t match.”
Last month, an issue was raised as to whether a minor is legally able to sign the oath petition circulators must sign and have notarized, after Cosby’s 14- and 15-year-old grandchildren helped collect signatures.
Stancil said her office is looking into the matter.
“There is no statute in Georgia Election Code regarding the issue of minors signing the oath,” she said Tuesday. “I have, however, contacted the county attorney since this issue has been raised.”
Last week, an ethics complaint was filed against Cosby by Garrett Jamieson, a BridgeMill resident and officer in the Cherokee County Democratic Party.
In the complaints, Jamieson contends Cosby has violated Georgia campaign law by not registering the Canton T.E.A. Party or Georgians for Healthcare Freedom, another group she led, as political committees.
Cosby said at the time the complaints showed her political opponents are “fishing” for something against her.
Holly LaBerge, executive director of the state ethics commission, said last week she could give no timeline of when the complaint would be addressed.