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Filing for town office closes Friday; photo ID will be required to vote this November

Filing for the 2023 municipal elections ends Friday, July 21 at noon and residents in Highlands can expect to see several new names on the ballot this fall. As of noon on Tuesday, the following individuals have filed for election to the Highlands Board of Commissioners: 

Jeff Weller

Rachel Wilson

Brian Stiehler – Incumbent

John Dotson – Incumbent

Keven Gabbard — Gabbard subsequently withdrew his candidacy shortly after filing.

As of press time, Marc Hehn had not yet filed for re-election for his seat. 

Not only will new officials be elected in towns around North Carolina this fall, beginning with the 2023 municipal elections, North Carolina voters will be asked to show photo ID when they check in to vote for the first time.

Macon County voters will head to the ballots to vote for candidates running for the Franklin Town Council and for the Highlands Board of Commissioners. Both the Franklin Town Council and Highlands Commissioners are municipal offices serving their respective towns — and are separate from the Macon County Board of Commissioners, which are elected to serve the county as a whole. County commissioner seats will not be on the ballot this fall. 

In Franklin, voters living within the Franklin town limits will be voting for Mayor — a seat currently held by Jack Horton, and three council seats which are currently occupied by Joe Collins, Mike Lewis, and Adam Kimsey. Both Collins and Lewis have filed for re-election to their seats as did Jack Horton.

As of press time, Adam Kimsey has not filed for reelection to the Franklin Town Council. 

To file for municipal office, a candidate must:

Be 21 years old by Election Day.

Be a registered voter of the municipality at the time they file for office. If not already registered, they can register at the time they file their notice of candidacy.

Reside within the district or ward for an office that is elected by district or ward.

File a Municipal Notice of Candidacy (Fillable PDF) with their county board of elections and pay a filing fee set by the municipality (or submit a petition in lieu of paying the fee). See 2023-2024 Fact Sheet for Candidate Petition in Lieu of a Filing Fee.

File an organizational report for the candidate committee with the county board of elections within 10 days of filing a notice of candidacy or within 10 days of organizing the candidate committee, whichever occurs first, and comply with all other campaign finance requirements.

For partisan elections, be affiliated with the same political party in which he or she intends to file for at least 90 days prior to the filing date.

Disclose any felony convictions. A felony conviction does not preclude holding elective office if the candidate has completed their felony sentence.

A person whose name appeared on the ballot in a partisan primary election is not eligible to have their name placed on the general municipal election ballot as an unaffiliated candidate for the same office in that year.

The 2023 municipal election will be held on November 7. 

About 475 of the state’s more than 550 cities, towns, and villages – also called municipalities – have elections in 2023. Municipalities are local governments that make decisions about development, policing, water and waste services, local taxation, and other issues that affect voters’ daily lives.

“Service at the municipal level often has the most direct impact on the communities in which we live. We hope many candidates sign up to run for local office this year,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections. “We also encourage eligible individuals across the state to register and vote in their local elections.”

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