GOP elections board members

Jeff Hughes (left) and Larry Ewing (right) at a recent Jackson County Board of Elections meeting. Hughes and Ewing represent the county's Republican Party and voted against certifying the county's Jan. 5 election results.

The Jackson County Republican Party is calling for legislation that would allow it to take over the county's board of elections.

The county GOP wants to change the rules governing the county's board of elections to allow the "majority party" in a county to have the chairmanship and majority members on the board of elections.

The proposal comes after local GOP leaders pushed, and lost, a fight to delay and not approve the results of the county's Jan. 5 elections. One local GOP board member, Jeff Hughes, also voted against approving the county's Nov. 5 election results.

Incumbent elections board chairman Eric Crawford has been the swing vote on the board to stop Republican activism and to have local election results approved.

There have been no legitimate allegations of wrongdoing or problems with Jackson County's election results.

Local GOP leaders have been pushing for over a year to purge the county's voters list without following state law on how names are removed from the list. 

Former Jackson County GOP chairman Ron Johnson served for a time as chairman of the elections board until it was revealed that he continued to be active in state GOP work in violaitn of state law. Johnson resigned the board chairmanship, but has remained active in pushing the elections board to cull voting records.

Jackson County elections director Jennifer Logan asked the board at its January meeting to put aside partisanship and do the right thing for the county's voters.

But  her request fell on deaf ears with Hughes and GOP member Larry Ewing. Ewing was visibly angry at Logan's remarks and said at the meeting he would "not be intimidated."

Crawford pointed out at that meeting that there were no problems with the county's election results and they should be approved.

Both Hughes and Ewing voted to delay approval of the Jan. 5 results at the behest of the county's Republican Party leadership, which had issued a proclamation calling for a delay even before the election was held.

Neither Hughes or Ewing pointed to any problems with he county's results in their efforts to block the certification.

The county's GOP leaders are also calling for other voting legislation that would:

• turn over control of elections to the state and take away local counting of election results.

• limit absentee voting to only the elderly, disabled or those serving out of the county in the military overseas.

• allow voters who wait in their cars at polling places with long lines to still vote after polls are closed.

• do away with runoffs in General Elections.

• do away with multi-party "jungle" primaries such as happened in the November Seante race.

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(3) comments

Candy Sweppenheiser

I am a registered Republican and to think that the Jackson County Republican Party should take over the county’s board of elections is absurd. This is a democracy; no single party should be allowed to control what happens in our elections. If the county Republican Party believes our county, state, and federal elections were somehow rigged then the Republican Party has bigger problems than it can imagine.

Jon Oblesen

But what can the public do with this information? Is there a meeting that will be held, like a town hall, where people can voice concerns over this development?

Pete Fuller

The next Board of Elections meeting is at 9AM on February 10th at the elections office at 441 Gordon St. It is open to the public, I encourage you to attend.

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