Candidate claims she was turned away from qualifying - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Candidate claims she was turned away from qualifying


Qualifying for state and federal elections is open in Georgia, but in Chatham County, one woman feels the democratic process of getting on the ballot has been tainted.

Shaundra McKeithen says she's eyeing the Chatham County Commission 5th district seat, currently held by Commissioner Yusuff Shabazz.

You may remember McKeithen from this past November, when she ran against Estella Shabazz for alderwoman.

But when McKeithen went to the Chatham County Democratic Committee to qualify this morning, she was caught off guard.

"My name was singled out by the committee as one that needed to go through scrutiny,” said McKeithen.

Cellphone video shows McKeithen attempting to qualify Monday morning. She says the staff member told her there were questions about whether she could qualify as a Democrat, so her name had to be sent up to the party's state office first.

"You're not singled out. This is not the first time we've done this today,” said the staff member on video.

But McKeithen believes she is being singled out and that it has to do with the fact she supported Mayor Eddie DeLoach in last year's election, a decision she still stands behind.

"That was a non-partisan race. We were able to support anyone. We were able to go with our conscience,” said McKeithen.

All of this comes after the local party tried to prevent any candidate from running as a Democrat if they supported a Republican or candidate not backed by the committee.

The state party quickly shot that down. 

WTOC did not hear back from the party's state offices in Atlanta.

When contacting local committee Chairman Will Claiborne, he said, "Both Ms. McKeithen and her consultant know that she is permitted to qualify. All she needs to do is submit the forms and qualifying fee… She has been provided the paperwork to qualify but has refused to return it."

The spat quickly made it to social media as well, with Claiborne and McKeithen exchanging jabs over the issue.

McKeithen did*eventually get the paperwork after asking for it Monday morning, but she says the part about her refusing to return it is not true and she's eager to submit it.

"But why did it take all of that? That's my question,” said McKeithen.

McKeithen plans to go back and qualify first thing Tuesday morning.

Claiborne has said there isn't an issue here and will personally qualify her if need be.

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