Elections board issued consent order

Published 8:00 am Friday, November 18, 2022

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During the Troup County Board of Elections & Registration meeting on Thursday morning, election leaders discussed a consent order from the state demanding that the county not repeat an incident from 2020 where a ballot was inappropriately accepted.

The issue arose after a voter was allowed to submit their vote after leaving a voting precinct with the ballot.

Elections Supervisor Andy Harper said the previous elections board voted to allow the person to vote again and the state issued a consent order to the county to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

“They said it’s against the state law to do that. So, they put a consent order on us to make sure that we get proper training for the board and the staff to make sure that doesn’t happen,” Harper said.

If it happens again, the county could be fined or worse, he said.

Board of Elections Chairman Bill Stump said it’s his understanding that this was the first and only time that someone had walked out with a ballot instead of putting it in the ballot box.

Former Elections Board member Lonnie Hollis explained that the person who walked out with the ballot had never voted with the new machines.  Election workers didn’t notice the voter leaving with the ballot, but it was discovered when they returned. At the time, the voter’s ballot was taken and voided they were not allowed to vote again.

Hollis said discussions later with the county attorney determined the best course of action was to accept the ballot in an effort to allow everyone an opportunity to vote who wishes to do so.

Hollis maintained that the decision to accept the ballot, even though it should have been invalidated by law, was not a partisan decision.

“I represent the Democratic Party. This person was a Republican. She was a white Republican, but I advocated for her to be able to vote because that’s her privilege,” Hollis said.