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Running for the Board of Education? It’s complicated.

Candidates for the Baltimore County school board technically have until Feb. 27 to file their paperwork with election officials. But in reality, the deadline is much earlier because one step in the process involves filing a document and then waiting days for a receipt for that document to arrive in the mail. Only when that receipt is in hand can the candidate officially file.

As of the November 2018 election, Baltimore County Public Schools is moving from an all-appointed Board of Education to a hybrid board. There will be seven elected members (one from each councilmanic district), four appointed members, and one student member.

So far only one candidate has filed to represent the 5th District, which includes the Towson area: That is Julie Henn, who is currently serving on the Board of Education as an at-large member. Board chair Ed Gilliss currently represents the 5th District. He did not respond to a question about whether he planned to run for the seat.

Here’s the process for candidates:

1. Download and fill out a paper Statement of Organization form from the state Board of Elections, then turn it in to the county Board of Elections when you file your other paperwork. Or fill it out online by clicking here and then selecting the “candidate committee” tab. Be sure to print out your confirmation of electronic filing and bring it with you when you file the other paperwork with the county.

2. Download and print a Financial Disclosure Statement and file it — in person or via mail — with the Baltimore County Board of Education at 6901 Charles Street, Building C, Towson 21204. Note that you will turn in your form and then it will be reviewed by officials and you will receive your receipt in the mail. The panel that reviews the forms will meet the evening of Feb. 15, and they don’t meet again until March. BCPS says the panel plans to authorize someone to review and approve the statements even after Feb. 15, but the receipts will still be sent by mail. To be on the safe side, it makes sense to file this form on or before Feb. 15.

3. Print and fill out a Candidate Information Sheet.

4. Take your three documents — that is A) Statement of Organization form OR receipt for Candidate Committee electronic filing; B) receipt for Financial Disclosure Statement; and C) Candidate Information Sheet — to the Baltimore County Board of Elections at 11112 Gilroy Road, Suite 104 in Hunt Valley. You should call ahead (410-887-5700) to make sure they have the proper staff on hand to accept your paperwork. You must also bring your driver license and a $25 filing fee (check or cash) when you file in Hunt Valley. 

If no more than two people file to run in a district, their names will not appear on the primary ballot but will both be on the November ballot. If three or more people run in a district, they will all be on the primary ballot and the two candidates with the most votes will then appear on the November ballot, according to the county elections office.

If no one files for a district’s seat, the governor will appoint someone.

Board of Education seats are non-partisan and party labels will not be shown on the ballot. The same Board of Education candidate names will be on both the Democratic, Republican and independent ballots. That means, for example, five Democrats and zero Republicans could run for the same seat in the primary, and then in the November general election, the two Democrats who got the most votes would run against each other.

The primary election is June 26, 2018; early voting will take place from Oct. 25 to Nov. 1; and the general election is Nov. 6.

Update: The Baltimore Sun has also has a story about the process and the confusion around it.

Towson Flyer
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