By Peter Vankevich
Swan Quarter Township Commissioner James “Little Brother” Topping died unexpectedly on June 29. Replacing him will be a two-fold process.
According to Viola Williams, director of Hyde County Board of Elections, if a seat becomes vacant on the board of commissioners, the remaining board members shall appoint a qualified person to fill the vacancy.
The county executive committee for the political party that the vacating member was a member recommends the replacement within 30 days. The person appointed to fill the vacancy must be a member of the same political party and must live in the electoral district.
According to statistics provided by the Elections office in February, Swan Quarter has a total of 482 registered voters: 275 Democrats, 59 Republicans, 3 Libertarians, 1 Green party and 144 unaffiliated.
Since Topping was a Democrat, that party will make the recommendation. An official recommendation has not yet been sent to the commissioners.
Topping’s remaining term ends in 2022, but whomever is appointed to fill his seat now will remain in the seat until Dec. 1, the date Hyde County commissioners are sworn in, and also may have the opportunity to run to complete the remaining term.
When the vacancy occurs more than 60 days before the next general election, the seat with the unexpired term will be placed on the ballot in the upcoming general election, which is Nov. 3. The executive committee for each of the political parties can select a nominee whose name will then be on the ballot for that party.
The five county commissioner terms are for four years.