Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Local Legislation on Board of Elections Changes are "Dead on Arrival"

Fayette County Commissioners Steve Brown and Allen McCarty confirmed that local legislation, approved by a previous Board of Commissioners on December 9, 2010, aimed at creating significant changes to how members of the County Board of Elections and Voter Registration are selected will not make it through the legislative process at the Georgia General Assembly this year.

"That particular piece of legislation is dead on arrival," said Commissioner Brown. "I received a three-way confirmation that the Board of Elections legislation will not move forward."

The controversial legislation took a system where the local Democrat and Republican Parties were able to choose their own representative to the Board of Elections and Voter Registration without interference from the county government to one where the County Board of Commissioners would have veto power over the selections from the political parties.

According to Commissioner McCarty, "Those proposed changes would have had a chilling effect on our process of conducting fair elections."

Commissioner Brown also cited a break in following county policy and procedures with the previous Board of Commissioners on the issue by not hearing the agenda item in a Wednesday Workshop meeting first as required.

At the January 13 Board of Commissioners meeting, Fayette Republican Party Chairman David Studdard gave an impassioned plea for the commissioners not to follow through with the local legislation. He also provided the commissioners with a copy of a resolution in opposition to the legislative changes, approved by the Fayette Republican Party's Executive Committee.

Both Commissioners McCarty and Brown were extremely pleased to see the local Republican Party step up to the plate on this issue.

"Our local party has proven the value of having a devoted group of citizens keeping track of the important issues and speaking out in defense of impartial elections in Fayette County," said Brown. "They should be commended for taking a bold stand."

Commissioner McCarty noted he preferred the local legislation be officially rescinded by the Board of Commissioners, but admitted the local legislative delegationâ019s reluctance to introduce the bill in the General Assembly will accomplish the same goal.
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