Dominic Massa /EyewitnessNews
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NEWORLEANS- Qualifying begins Wednesday for candidates seeking a handful of local offices in this fall's elections, including several local judgeship races.

The elections, on Oct. 19, will be low-key by most standards, but will decide replacements for some long-serving members of the local judiciary. Qualifying ends Friday.

For a full list of candidates who qualify, click here for the Secretary of State's website.

In Orleans Parish, candidates will sign up to run for magistrate judge, seeking to replace longtime Judge Gerard Hansen, who is stepping down at Tulane and Broad after 39 years.

A Traffic Court judgeship is also on the ballot, with nearly a dozen candidates expected to sign up to run for the seat held by Judge Ronald Sholes, who stepped down Aug. 1 after 15 years on the bench. Several candidates, including some former Orleans Parish judges, have already said they will run for the post.

Despite the fact that those two races will be the only one on the ballot, Orleans Parish Clerk of Court Arthur Morrell, the parish's top elections official, said he expects close to an 18 percent turnout for the October election, depending on weather.

Jefferson Parish will see its longest-serving Juvenile Court judge, and one of the longest-serving judges in the state, retire at the end of the year. Candidates will qualify this week for the Section C judgeship. Judge Nancy Amato Konrad is retiring from the bench after nearly 33 years. She was also the first woman elected parishwide in Jefferson, when she ran in 1980.

Also in Jefferson, candidates will qualify for a Second Parish Court judgeship. The winner of that West Bank election will replace Judge Stephen Grefer, who was elected to the 24th Judicial District Court.

In St. Bernard, candidates will sign up for an election to choose a replacement for a longtime parish judge. Judge Manuel 'Manny' Fernandez retired in June after 12 years on the bench.

There is also a judgeship race in Tangipahoa Parish, for a seat on the 21st Judicial District Court bench, which also serves parts of Livingston and St. Helena parishes.

There is a council race in the Village of Tickfaw, in Tangipahoa Parish, and Justice of the Peace races in St. Tammany and Plaquemines as well.

Voters should also be aware of some planned changes for polling place locations in Orleans Parish, according to Morrell.

The polling place for Ward 7 Precincts 18 and 19 will move from: St. Leo the Great School to Langston Hughes School, 3519 Trafalgar St. The polling place for Orleans Parish Ward 13 Precinct 8 will move from Milton Latter Library, which is under renovation, to Benjamin Franklin Elementary, 1116 Jefferson Ave. Voters with questions should contact Morrell's office or the Secretary of State's office.

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