The Jackson County Republican Party and its two representatives on the Jackson County Board of Elections attempted — unsuccessfully — to delay certification of the county's Jan. 5 runoff election at a meeting on Jan. 8.
In a 3-2 vote, the board of elections voted to approve the election results with GOP representatives Jeff Hughes and Larry Ewing voting against the certification. The two had earlier made a motion to delay certification, a motion that failed.
The moves led to some strong comments during the election's board meeting as county elections director Jennifer Logan called on the board to put aside partisan politics and do the right thing for the voters of Jackson County.
The county's GOP executive committee on Jan. 3 adopted a resolution calling on the elections board to delay Jackson County's certification until after Fulton County had certified its results. Fulton has the state's largest number of voters and is usually the last county to certify its election results. It is also one of the main targets of the state's GOP since Fulton is a Democratic stronghold.
But Jackson County's balloting process has nothing to do with Fulton County, something noted by elections board chairman Eric Crawford.
"Our duty is to Jackson County citizens and that is to certify the election unless for some reason there is to think that there is some error in our results, or something that's been done incorrectly to give us a reason to not certify," he said.
GOP member Ewing reacted angrily to the comments by Logan and Crawford.
"I will not be intimidated by anyone regardless of who he is or a statement that he makes," Ewing said.
Hughes also pushed back on certifying the results, saying he wanted to delay until the county had crosschecked the names of those who voted with a list provided in December by former county GOP chairman Ron Johnson of 1,140 people in the county who had address changes.
Logan pushed back against that idea, too.
"That's no reason to not certify this election," she said.
After the board voted 3-2 to certify the election, it voted 3-2 to have the county's staff look at the Johnson list to see if there are any names of those with a moved address who voted in the county's Jan. 5 runoff.
Many state and national GOP activists have been pushing an unfounded lie that the Nov. 3 election results that ousted Donald Trump as president was riddled with fraud. Hughes voted against certifying the county's November election results, but didn't give a reason for his opposition.
SCHOOL SPLOT VOTE
In another split decision, the board voted 3-2, with Ewing and Hughes opposed, to call for a special election on March 16 for the county's three school systems to hold a SPLOST renewal vote.
Hughes said he wanted to delay the election until some other time when there are other issues to vote for. But Logan said the school systems were within the law to call for a special election and that the elections board didn't have the authority to not call for an election under the circumstances.
The moved had been delayed from December after a technical error was found on the referendum. During that December meeting, Ewing voiced opposition to the idea of a school SPLOST in general.