Government

City of Port Wentworth Government

The City of Port Wentworth consists of a Mayor and six (6) Council Members that are elected for staggered terms of four (4) years. The City Council is made up of Council Members for four (4) election districts; District 1, District 2, District 3, and District 4, and two (2) At-Large seats.

 

Municipal elections for Mayor and Council are non partisan (held without primaries) and by plurality of the votes cast. Elections are conducted in accordance with Chapter 2 of Title 21 of the O.C.G.A. the "Georgia Election Code", all other applicable provisions of general state law and Article II and Article V of the City of Port Wentworth Charter. 

 

The next general election for the City of Port Wentworth will be held on Tuesday, November 2, 2021 to elect the Office of Mayor, Council Members for Districts 1 and 3, and Council Member At-Large. Visit the Georgia Secretary of State My Voter Page to verify your voter registration status and to confirm your polling location. 

Georgia Gov

Interested in running for office?

Please read the information below if you are considering qualifying for the next election cycle

Qualifying to run in the November 2, 2021 General Election for the City of Port Wentworth is now closed. Best of luck to all candidates who qualified. 
  • 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 for the Office of Mayor 

    Candidates for the Office of Mayor must meet the following requirements to qualify:

    1. Must be a full-time City of Port Wentworth resident for at least two (2) consecutive years prior to the date of election.
    2. Must be age twenty-five (25) years prior to the date of election.
    3. Must be a full-time City of Port Wentworth resident during the Mayor's full term of office. 
    4. Must be a registered voter and legally qualified to run as a candidate in a municipal election of the City of Port Wentworth
    5. Must complete the Notice of Candidacy and Affidavit during the designated qualifying days. Candidates who wish to begin accepting donations toward their intent to run for office before qualifying begins, must complete and file Form DOI (Declaration of Intent to Accept Campaign Contributions) with the City of Port Wentworth Local Filing Officer, Clerk of Council.
    6. Must be able to pay a qualifying fee or file a Qualifying Pauper’s Petition and Affidavit in lieu of; $216 for the Office of Mayor (3% of Mayor’s compensation).

    Eligibility Requirements for the Office of Council Member 

    Candidates for the Office of Council Member must meet the following requirements to qualify:

    1. Must be a full-time City of Port Wentworth resident for at least six (6) months prior to the date of election.
    2. Must be age twenty-one (21) years prior to the date of election.
    3. Must be a full-time City of Port Wentworth resident during the Council Members full term of office. 
    4. Must be a registered voter and legally qualified to run as a candidate in a municipal election of the City of Port Wentworth
    5. Must complete the Notice of Candidacy and AffidavitCandidates who wish to begin accepting donations toward their intent to run for office before qualifying begins, must complete and file Form DOI  (Declaration of Intent to Accept Campaign Contributions) with the City of Port Wentworth Local Filing Officer, Clerk of Council.
    6. Must be able to pay a qualifying fee or file a Qualifying Pauper’s Petition and Affidavit in lieu of; $144 for City Council Members (3% of Council Members 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 7224 GA Highway 21, 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 Pauper’s Petition and Affidavit may be filed affirming under oath the candidate's poverty or inability to pay the qualifying fee. 

    Georgia Election Code, O.C.G.A. § 21-2-132

    What are the qualifying dates/times/location?

    Qualifying to run in the November 2, 2021 General Election for the City of Port Wentworth is now closed. Best of luck to all candidates who qualified. 

    What happens once qualifying ends?

    Once qualifying closes, a headshot picture of each candidate that qualified for office along with the candidate names, the seat they are seeking for election, and their contact information to include phone numbers, email addresses and any social media sites will be posted on the City website.  

     

    This information will also be made available via the Savannah Morning Newspaper for easy access for voters to communicate with the candidates directly.

  • 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 or by completing the City of Port Wentworth Affidavit for Withdrawal of Candidacy, that will later be sent to the Georgia Secretary of State office on the candidates behalf. Georgia Election Code, O.C.G.A. § 21-2-134

    For assistance with this matter, please contact the City of Port Wentworth Clerk of Council at (912) 964-4379, the Chatham County Elections Supervisor 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

  • Sign Ordinance 

    All candidates should be aware of and adhere to the City of Port Wentworth Sign Ordinance, as well as the Official Code of Georgia (O.C.G.A.) Title 32 which details sign placement in public right of ways. 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 must 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 Georgia Government Transparency Campaign Finance Commission (GGTCFC) 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 (Form RC) 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 (3) years from the termination date of the candidate’s campaign. However, since public disclosures are maintained for not less than five (5) years, candidates are encouraged to keep records for at least five (5) 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.
  • Campaigning Before Qualifying Opens  

    Per the Georgia Government Transparency & Campaign Finance Commission (GGTCFC), candidates who wish to begin accepting donations toward their intent to run for office during the November 2, 2021, General Election must complete and file Form DOI (Declaration of Intent to Accept Campaign Contributions) with the City of Port Wentworth Local Filing Officer, Clerk of Council.

    Once Form DOI has been submitted, candidates may begin to post signage regarding their intent to run for office as long as all postings are in compliance with the City of Port Wentworth Sign Ordinance and O.C.G.A. 32-6-51.  

    Candidates will still be responsible for submitting the Notice of Candidacy and Affidavit and paying the required qualifying fee for office during qualifying week August 16th – 19th, 2021 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. in the Office of the Clerk of Council, located at 7224 GA Highway 21, Port Wentworth, Georgia 31407. 
  • 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, "neither the Mayor nor any Council Member shall hold any other elected or appointed office in the City or otherwise be employed by the City during the term for which that official was elected or appointed," as spelled out in Article II Section 2.35(8) – Ethical Responsibilities and Prohibitions of the City of Port Wentworth Charter.  

  • Compensation 

    "The Mayor and Council Members shall receive compensation for their service in such amounts as may be approved by City Council by ordinance", per Article II Section 2.33(a) – Compensation and Expenses of the City of Port Wentworth Charter. 

     

    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. 

    *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.

    • 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. 
    • 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!

      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, and may 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 three (3) 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

      PRECINCT 7-15

      Rice Creek School 

      100 Mulberry Street 

      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.

    • Board of Registrars /Early-Advanced Voting

      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 2021 Municipal Election will be held in accordance with state law.  

      Absentee Voting in Georgia

      Request for mail out absentee ballots may be submitted as early as one hundred and eighty (180) days prior to the Election. Requests may be submitted either by mail (P.O. Box 13757, Savannah GA 31416), fax (912-790-1519), scanned attachment sent via e-mail to voter@chathamcounty.org, or you may complete the application in person at the Chatham County Voters Registration Office at 1117 Eisenhower Drive, Suite E, Savannah, Georgia 31406.

      You must file a separate application for each election and run-off election for which you are requesting an absentee ballot; except if you are a voter who is over the age of 65 or disabled, a military service member, spouse of a military service member, or an oversees citizen (temporary or permanent). Please submit your application early. Call Chatham County Voter Registration at 912-790-1520 for further details.

      Early in-person voting is available twenty-one (21) days prior to the General Primary / Special Election. Any eligible registered voter desiring to early vote in advance during this period may do so in-person. No reason is required for absentee early voting.

      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. 

  • Chatham County Board of Elections

To request or track a ballot and/or register to vote, click here to visit the Chatham County Board of Elections website. 
  • My Voter Page

For more information on your voter registration status, polling location, to view a sample ballot and much more, visit the Georgia Secretary of State My Voter Page. 
  • Absentee Voting Guide for Registered Voters

Registered voters may click here to review the Georgia Secretary of State Absentee Voting Guide for Registered Voters. 

Note: The information and materials available on this website were prepared as a public service of the State of Georgia to provide general information, not to advise on any specific legal problem, and intended to be as accurate as possible. It is not and cannot be construed to be legal advice. If you have questions regarding any matter contained on this page, please contact the Georgia Secretary of State Elections Division by calling toll free 844-753-7825.

Contact the Clerk of Council to learn more about the November 2, 2021 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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