Another effort by the Republican members of the Jackson County Board of Elections to have a list of 211 voter names sent to the state for possible investigation failed at the board's March 19 meeting. The vote was 2-2, killing the motion.
The effort is rooted in a list of around 2,000 names given to the board by former Jackson County GOP chairman Ron Johnson. The names came from a national lobbying group that has promoted the idea of voter fraud.
Johnson said the names were of voters in Jackson County who had requested a change of address in the U.S. Postal Service.
Of those, county election officials found that 211 had voted in the January Senate runoff elections in Jackson County.
GOP board members Jeff Hughes and Larry Ewing have pushed to have those names turned over to the state for investigation, although there is no evidence that anyone committed voter fraud.
Some of the requested address changes could have been for college students or for other reasons not related to residency, officials have said. In addition, the ballot was the same state-wide so that even if someone had moved and voted in the county, it would not have made any difference in the election.
When voters move and register to vote in another county, the local elections board gets a notification from the state. The county had not received any notification from the state of a change in voting before the January runoff election for those 211 people.
Several citizens attended the elections board meeting, apparently encouraged by local GOP leaders. One person suggested that the 211 names should be investigated while another asked about the duties of the board of elections.
A third person wanted to know why the March ESPLOST vote had not been held in January to save money. County elections manager Jennifer Logan said that SPLOST votes are held in March and November and that the county hadn't even received a request for the ESPLOST referendum until after the January runoff.
Both Hughes and Ewing had spoken against holding the March ESPLOST vote at earlier meetings, although the board doesn't have the authority to not call an election when requested by local government agencies. Hughes said at a previous meeting that the school superintendent should have come before the elections board to explain why the vote was being called, although the board has no legal role in second-guessing government policies.
At its March 19 meeting, the board also certified the results of the March 16 ESPLOST referendum and rejected two provisional ballots from people who said they were registered voters in the county, but who had no record of registration on file with Jackson County. One was registered in Barrow County while the other was registered in Gwinnett County.