campaign-story-2Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst 
July 11, 2014 2:20 p.m.

On July 7, 2014, the city election season got underway with opening of the Qualifying Period for two seats on the City Commission.  Those seats are currently held by Commissioner Charlie Corbett (Group 2) and Vice Mayor Sarah Pelican (Group 3), both of whom have filed to run for re-election.   So far, two challengers have filed:  Tim Poynter (Group 2) and Robin Lentz (Group 3).  Candidates have until 5:00 pm on August 8, 2014 to qualify for election.  Until that date, other candidates may also file to run for one of these two seats.  The election will be held on November 4, 2014, in conjunction with county, state and federal elections.  If a run-off is needed, it will be held on December 9, 2014.  By City Charter, elections are non-partisan.

The information below is taken from the city website

Fernandina Beach City Clerk Caroline Best
Fernandina Beach City Clerk Caroline Best

Municipal Elections

The City Clerk coordinates all Municipal Elections with the Nassau County Supervisor of Elections and is the official filing officer for candidates seeking elective office in the City of Fernandina Beach.

Terms & Qualifications

The term of office for elected officers is three (3) years, with a two-term limit.

A candidate seeking to qualify for a City Commission seat must:

  • Be a qualified, registered voter in the City of Fernandina Beach;
  • File his/her qualification papers during the Qualifying Period;
  • Pay the Election Assessment Fee in an amount equal to one percent (1%) of the annual salary of the office sought (See FS 99.093(1);
  • And qualify by one (1) of the following methods for their name to appear on the ballot:

1. Qualifying Fee Method: Pay the Qualifying filing fee in a sum equal to three percent (3%) of the annual salary ($12,000) paid to a member of the City Commission of the fiscal year preceding the notice of filing for candidacy in the amount of $360.00 (See City Code Section 34-3 and FS 99.092) or

2. Petition Method: Obtain signatures of one percent (1%) of the total number of registered voters (8,935) in the last City General Election which would be 89 valid petition signatures. If you meet these requirements and obtain the signatures of one percent (1%) of registered voters, you will not be required to pay the qualifying fee in the amount of $120.00. See the City Clerk for further instructions.

                IMPORTANT: The deadline for 89 candidate petitions with valid City of Fernandina Beach registered voters’ signatures to be submitted to the Nassau County Supervisor of Elections is Thursday, July  24th,12:00 p.m. (noon).

Straw Ballot

Straw Ballot for Mayor will be on the City ballot each year per City Code Section 34-9. The Mayor of the City is selected by virtue of a straw ballot election that is held in conjunction with the regular election held for the purpose of electing City Commissioners.  The results of the straw ballot shall be taken under advisement by the City Commission for the appointment for the Mayor at the annual organizational meeting to be held on the third Tuesday in December of each year, or at such other reasonable time or date in December that the City Commission may designate.

Newly elected officers shall be sworn in and assume the duties of office at the Organizational Meeting of the City Commission held at 5:00 p.m. on the third Tuesday of December, or at such other reasonable time or date that the City Commission may designate, unless the election results are not certified. In that event, the officers will be sworn in and assume the duties of their offices at the next regular City Commission meeting following certification.

Voter Registration

If you would like to register to vote or need to make changes to your current registration, forms are available at the following locations:

  • City Clerk’s Office at City Hall, 204 Ash Street, Fernandina Beach, FL or
  • Nassau County Supervisor of Elections Office, Historic Downtown Courthouse at 416 Centre St., Fernandina Beach, FL or
  • Nassau County Supervisor of Elections Office, 96135 Nassau Place, Suite #3, Yulee, FL

For additional information on registering to vote, please contact the Nassau County Supervisor of Elections at (904) 491-7500 or visit their website at

Vote by Mail Ballots (Absentee Ballots) & Voter Precinct Locations

To find the location of your voting precinct or to request a Vote by Mail Ballot (Absentee Ballot), visit the Nassau County Supervisor of Elections’ website at or call (904) 491-7500.

Suanne ThammEditor’s Note: Suanne Z. Thamm is a native of Chautauqua County, NY, who moved to Fernandina Beach from Alexandria,VA, in 1994. As a long time city resident and city watcher, she provides interesting insight into the many issues that impact our city. We are grateful for Suanne’s many contributions to the Fernandina Observer.

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