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.


(7) comments

Pete Fuller

Late to this - but a very important point is the list Johnson used to derive this challenge is well known to be very inaccurate. Its using name matching, and guess what - a LOT of folks share the same name. There is no actual tie to a voter on the rolls other than a similar name. I personally reached out to several folks on this list when Johnson initially challenged these folks, and I reached a father and son that shared the same name and two folks that moved past the registration deadline and was told to vote in his old precinct. I looked into some tax records and found many of these houses had not been sold in decades and were still owned by the voter challenged.

This same elections board set precedent in determining residency in the case of Councilman Lawson in Hoschton, someone that this board determined had residency in the city even though he owned property in another and had mail sent there. Forwarding mail is NOT a legally binding change of residency.

This is just more of the big lie, the election was sound, there was no mass illegal voting and the results still stand.

Julie Barnett

Oddly enough we pay for your opinion, and when it comes to facts it is somewhat factual.

Thanks for clearing it all up for me mike.

Ross Harvin

5 local, state, and federal elections results in Jackson County affected by less than 211 votes. One for the chairman of the BOC was only 9 votes. The issue is not about the general election, it is about all elections specifically local ones. Would it have hurt for the matter to be checked? No. It also does not imply any wrong doing.

Julie Barnett

Opinion based article that states no factual data

Jon Oblesen

Please point out a single personal opinion that the writer shared. It reads to me as facts followed by more facts? Maybe you commented on the wrong article ?

Julie Barnett

thanks for correcting me sir. I am so very humbled by your digital input to my ignorance.

perhaps you know that the direction of this county was decided in 2016 by a mere 9 votes? the original article implied that anyone who spoke in opposition was a minion of Ron Johnson. Your current county commission chair enjoyed the value of an additional 9 votes to continue to bring you the inefficiently run JCWSA that everyone loves, shut down water systems of private cities and forced them to buy water from the county. We also have an Ag center that no one in the county knows how it was paid for.

So Jon I know the federal level election interests you by the history I have seen, but the local races that are decided by less than 200 votes would scare you. The author (who did not publish their name) did not dive into the factual data that was presented to the board.

perhaps the west jackson democrat is a publication you should look into. I hear it will be coming soon, or even the Metro section in the AJC.

Some of us have been active watching the corruption in Jackson County for decades. Perhaps lets look at cleaning these things up so that we do not have school board, solicitors, judges, commissioners along with other important local elections be decided by less than 200 votes.

or the fact that our IDA has given tons of your and my money to SK battery for a company that has questionable intellectual data.

So lets not make everything about the federal presidential election sir, judging by your past comments it appears you are doing so.

enjoy your day

Mike Buffington Staff
Mike Buffington

Editor's Note: Many of your allegations in this comment are not factual.

The JCWSA has not shut down any city water systems or forced anyone to buy water.

The ad center was paid for by county funds and donations and that was fully reported in this newspaper. Nothing is hidden or secret about it.

You mention "corruption," but don't point to any specifics. If you know of corruption in public office, please outline what that is.

The IDA didn't give tons of money to SK Battery; it does have a tax abatement agreement that has the firm paying specific payments in lieu of taxes.

You have a right to your own opinions, but not to your own facts.

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