Government

City of Port Wentworth Government

The City of Port Wentworth consists of a Mayor and six (6) Council Members. The term of office is four (4) years with elections being staggered every two (2) years. 

Municipal elections for Mayor and Council are nonpartisan (held without primaries) and by plurality of the votes cast.  Elections are conducted in accordance with Title 21 of the O.C.G.A., the Georgia Election Code and Article III of the City of Port Wentworth Charter.
Candidates for Mayor and Council run at-large and are voted on by the registered voters of the entire City; not by districts, posts or any other geographic designation.

The next scheduled election for the City of Port Wentworth is November 7, 2017 for the purpose of electing a Mayor and three (3) Council Members for District 1, District 3 and one (1) At-Large post. 

                          Click here to view the Elections Special Notice.                               

Georgia Gov
  • Superintendent of Elections

    The Chatham County Board of Elections functions as the superintendent of elections and conducts primaries and elections in accordance with State law. The Board performs all services and functions necessary to support the election process. The Board of Elections also establishes boundaries for voting precincts, secures facilities to serve as polling locations for these precincts, recruits, selects, hires, trains and assigns personnel to serve as poll officials. Additionally, the board conducts qualification for candidates, develops ballots for elections, acquires, maintains, prepares and delivers equipment used to conduct elections, publicizes notices as required by law and maintains elections records. 

    Click here for more details on the Chatham County Board of Elections. 
  • Board of Registrars 

    The Chatham County Board of Registrars will serve as the Absentee Ballot Clerk for the City of Port Wentworth Elections. Early/Advanced voting for the 2017 Municipal Election will be held in accordance with state law.  

    Absentee ballots will be available beginning 45 days prior to the Election for all eligible voters. No absentee ballots will be issued or cast on the Monday preceding the date of the election.

    A person may cast an absentee ballot in person at the registrar's office at least 21 days prior to any general primary or general election without a declared reason.

    To find out if the Voter Registration Office has received your application for an absentee ballot, when your ballot was mailed, or if your voted ballot has been returned, view the Georgia Secretary of State Website.

    For more information, contact the Chatham County Board of Registrars at 912-790-1520 or click here to learn more. 

  • What is a candidate?

    Georgia statues § 21-5-3(4) defines "Candidate" as:

    1. “an individual who seeks nomination for election or election to any public office, whether or not such an individual is elected;
    2. and a person shall be deemed to seek nomination or election if such person has taken necessary action under the laws of this state to qualify such person for nomination for election or election;
    3. or has received any contributions or made any expenditures in pursuit of such nomination or election
    4. or has given such person's consent for such person's campaign committee to receive contributions or make expenditures with a view to bringing about such person's nomination for election or election to such office.”

    Eligibility Requirements

    Candidates for the office of Mayor or Council Member must meet the following requirements to qualify:

    1. Must be eighteen (18) years of age.
    2. Must be a qualified elector of the City of Port Wentworth. 
    3. Must have resided within the City of Port Wentworth for at least six (6) months immediately preceding the date of any City election. 
    4. Must be a registered voter.
    5. Must complete the Notice of Candidacy and Affidavit
    6. Must pay a qualifying fee or file a Qualifying Petition/Pauper’s Affidavit in lieu of; $216 for the Office of Mayor (3% of Mayor’s compensation) and $144 for City Council Members (3% of Council Member compensation) 

    What does it mean to qualify?

    Qualifying is the process through which candidates indicate their desire to run for office and the municipal election superintendent confirms that they possess the requisite (necessary) legal qualifications to be eligible to do so.

    How and where does a candidate qualify?

    Candidates seeking election for a municipal office shall qualify with the City of Port Wentworth by filing the Notice of Candidacy and Affidavit, Declaration of Intention to Accept Campaign Contributions (FORM DOI) and paying the applicable qualifying fee, during the qualifying period, to be eligible to have their names placed on the nonpartisan election ballot. All paperwork must be filed in the Office of the Clerk of Council, located at 305 South Coastal Highway, Port Wentworth, Georgia 31407. Georgia Election Code, O.C.G.A § 21-2-132

    Again, the following documents must be completed and returned to the Clerk of Council DURING the qualifying period:

    Form DOI must be filed regardless of whether any money will be raised or spent and should be submitted BEFORE accepting campaign contributions. Georgia Election Code, O.C.G.A. § 21-5-30(g)

    Once a candidate qualifies, all Federal, State and Local laws must be adhered to.

  • What is the qualifying fee? 

    The qualifying fee for the office of Mayor is $216.00 (two hundred sixteen dollars), which is 3% of the total gross Mayoral salary of the preceding year. The qualifying fee for Council Members is $144.00 (one hundred forty-four dollars), which is 3% of the total gross Council Member salary of the preceding year.

    • Acceptable forms of payment for the qualifying fee

    Major credit/debit cards, personal checks (payable to the City of Port Wentworth) for electronic processing and cash are all acceptable forms of payment. The City of Port Wentworth does not accept American Express.

    • Filing a Qualifying Petition/Pauper's Affidavit in lieu of paying the qualifying fee

    A Qualifying Petition/Pauper’s Affidavit may be filed affirming under oath the candidate's poverty or inability to pay the qualifying fee. Georgia Election Code 21-2-132

    What are the qualifying dates/times/location?

    Qualifying for the 2017 Municipal Election closed on Thursday, August 24, 2017 at 4:30 p.m. 

    What happens once qualifying ends?

    Once qualifying closes, all candidate names and the seat they are seeking for election will be posted on the City website and published in the Savannah Morning Newspaper. Candidates who wish to have their email address listed, on the City's website, for voters to contact them directly and/or a headshot picture to accompany their contact information should send an email to sscarboro@cityofportwentworth.com.

    What if I want to withdraw my candidacy?

    A candidate in a general, special, or nonpartisan primary may withdraw as a candidate after qualifying, but prior to the date of the general election, by filing a notarized affidavit of withdrawal with the Secretary of State. Georgia Election Code, O.C.G.A. § 21-2-134

    For assistance with this matter, please contact the Chatham County Election Supervisor, Russell Bridges, at (912) 201-4375 or send an email to elections@chathamcounty.org.

    Candidates who qualify and later withdraw from the election are still responsible for filing the required Campaign Contribution Disclosure Reports (CCDR). Rules of the GGTCFC § 189-3.01 Campaign Contribution Disclosure Reports

  • Campaigning

    All candidates should be aware that the City of Port Wentworth has a Sign Ordinance. Other restrictions regarding campaign activities are listed in the Official Code of Georgia (O.C.G.A.) Title 21also published as the Georgia Election Code and Rules of the State Election Board.

    Campaign Committee Registration 

    If you have designated someone to file your reports or if anyone is collecting or expending your contributions, you

    have a campaign committee. Therefore, a Registration Form For A Candidates Campaign Committee (Form RC)

    MUST BE FILED BY THE CANDIDATE DIRECTLY WITH THE GGTCFC.

    The term “campaign committee” as it relates to the candidate means the candidate, person(s) or committee which accepts contributions or makes expenditures for the purpose of bringing about the nomination or election of an individual to any elected office. If a candidate has a campaign committee, the name and address of the committee, its chairperson, treasurer and the candidate must be registered with the Commission prior to accepting any contributions.

     

    Campaign Committee Rules

    • One person may serve as both chairperson and treasurer.
    • No contributions may be accepted at any time there is a vacancy in either the position of chairperson or treasurer.
    • No candidate may have more than one campaign committee.
    • Registration Form for a Candidate’s Campaign Committee is filed with the Commission.

    When a candidate is elected to office, the candidate’s campaign committee registration will remain in effect as long as the candidate remains in office until and unless the registration is canceled by the campaign committee or the candidate. Any substantive changes to registration information of a committee must be updated with the Commission within seven (7) business days. Georgia Election Code, O.C.G.A. §§ 21-5-3(2) and 21-5-30(b)

    Campaign Contributions Record Keeping

    Pursuant to the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Act of 2016, all candidates and/or campaign committees must maintain detailed records of all contributions received and expenditures made. Records must be maintained by the candidate or treasurer of a campaign committee and may be inspected by the Commission at any time. The right of inspection may be enforced by the Commission or by the Superior Court of the State of Georgia. Records of the accounts kept by a candidate or candidate’s committee are required to be preserved for three years from the termination date of the candidate’s campaign. However, since public disclosures are maintained for not less than five years, candidates are encouraged to keep records for at least five years.

    Contributions of money received by the candidate or the candidate’s campaign committee must be promptly deposited in a separate campaign depository account (separate from the personal banking account of the candidate) opened and maintained for this purpose. The account may be an interest-bearing account and any interest earned will be deemed a contribution to the campaign committee; interest earned is not payable to the candidate as personal funds. Georgia Election Code, O.C.G.A. § 21-5-32.
    Visit www.ethics.ga.gov to learn more about campaign contributions.

                                                       Click here to view the Election Summary Report.

  • 2017 Candidate Listing 

  • Voter Information

    Citizens may sign up to vote at any time, but must be registered by the established registration deadline prior to an election if desiring to vote on election day. If you are not already signed up to vote, please register today! The deadline to register in this November 7, 2017 Election is Monday, October 10, 2017.

    Voter Qualifications

    To register to vote in the state of Georgia, you must be:

    • A citizen of the United States
    • A legal resident of Georgia and of the county in which you wish to vote
    • 18 years old by election day (17 1/2 at time of registration)

    Also, you may not register to vote if you are currently: 

    • Serving any sentence imposed by conviction of a felony
    • Judicially determined to be mentally incompetent
    In the state of Georgia, you do not have to register by political party to vote in the state's regular primaries or general elections. However, for primary elections you must declare your party preference when casting your vote.
    Chatham County residents may register to vote or change their address/name at the Chatham County Board of Registrars office, municipal town hall and public libraries. You can also download the voter registration application here.

    Motor Voter registration is offered when you renew or apply for your driver's license.  Registrations conducted via driver's license department and/or mail are not guaranteed. You have an individual responsibility to confirm your registration prior to election day, do so by calling 912-790-1520 or 1-888-265-1115 or by visiting My Voter Page.

    Where to Vote?

    Only residents of incorporated City of Port Wentworth are eligible to vote for Mayor and Council. The City of Port Wentworth has two polling locations:

    PRECINCT 7-3

    P.B. Edwards Jr. Gymnasium

    103 Turnberry Street

    Port Wentworth, Georgia 31407

    PRECINCT 7-4

    Lakeshore Community Center

    100 Lakeshore Blvd

    Port Wentworth, Georgia 31407

    To locate your polling place visit the Georgia Secretary of State My Voter Page (MVP) Poll Locator.

    You will need your first initial, last name, county of residence and date of birth to access this information.

  • Once Elected 

    Elected officials take office on the first day of January immediately following their election for a four (4) year term. Mayor and Council shall serve until their successors are qualified and elected. Once elected, the Mayor and all members of Council must continue to reside in the City of Port Wentworth during their periods of service and remain registered voters. Additionally, they may not hold any other City office or employment during any portion of the term for which they are elected. Port Wentworth Code of Ordinances Article II Section 4A – Terms of Office of Mayor and Council Members.

  • Compensation 

    Compensation for City of Port Wentworth elected officials is as follows: Mayor receives $7,200 per year and City Council Members receive $4,800.00 per year. Port Wentworth Code of Ordinances Article II Section 12 - Salaries.

    *Elected officials are expected to attend scheduled or called meetings, Council Workshops, Committee Meetings, Annual Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) Training, as well as participate in various other conferences, seminars, budget review sessions, community involvement programs, leadership opportunities; and encouraged to attend City functions and events.

Source: Secretary of State. This information was prepared as a public service of the State of Georgia to provide general information, not to advise on any specific legal problem. It is not, and cannot be construed to be, legal advice. If you have questions regarding any matter contained on this page, please speak with the Georgia Secretary of State Elections Division by calling toll free 844-753-7825.

Interested in running for City Council? Contact the Clerk of Council to learn more about the next General Election for the City of Port Wentworth at (912) 964-4379 during normal business hours, Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. 

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