Locals voice opinion on potential changes to the county’s Board of Elections

Published 6:15 pm Thursday, February 18, 2021

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On Tuesday, the Troup County Board of Commissioners heard from two local citizens who voiced concerns of potential changes to the county’s Board of Elections.  

In January, The Troup County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution asking the state legislature to reform the county’s Board of Elections. 

If the resolution is adopted by the legislature and signed by Gov. Brian Kemp, the Troup Board of Elections will consist of five members, appointed by a majority vote of county commissioners, down from the current seven-member board. 

Four members would represent the county district they serve, and one member will serve as chairperson and represent the whole county.

The current setup of the Board of Elections allows each city in Troup (LaGrange, West Point and Hogansville) to appoint one member. 

The local Republican and Democratic Party chapters also appoint one member each. 

The other two members are appointed by the Board of Commissioners. 

Under the proposed reforms, the chairperson will serve an initial term of three years. 

In order to have a staggered board, members from Commissioner Districts 2 and 3 will serve initial terms of two years, while members from Districts 4 and 5 will serve terms of one year. Successors to the initial members will serve three-year terms.

Four members would represent the county district they serve, and one member will serve as chairperson and represent the whole county.

Ernest Ward with Troup Acts said that he hopes that the board does not go through with the change. 

“For the board of commissioners to recommend a policy that would allow each commissioner, who was elected by a practice founded on white supremacy and the American Caste System, to hand pick an individual from their district to be place on the board of elections, which was created by the unfair practice of gerrymandering, is a way of giving more power to the commissioners and least power to we the people,” Ward said. “It is unfair to subject that changes are needed because the board of election is dysfunctional. The reality is that Troup County is dysfunctional when there is a need to have a conversation, dialogue or debate involving race, religion or political ideology. Because the community as a whole has not developed the skills necessary to have conversations, dialogues or debates which requires creative tension, the board of elections also lack those skills and your actions denied them the opportunity to develop those skills.”

Ward recommended that the commissioners increase the commissioner’s districts to seven districts, parallel to the number of Troup County School Board members, and that the seven new districts have district lines which are identical to the school board district lines. 

Kevin Littlefield, Chairman of the Troup County Democratic Party, said that the democratic party opposes the change as well.