Madison County commissioners will discuss a resolution to create a board of elections, Friday, Jan. 25.

That meeting is set for 9 a.m. in the county government complex in Danielsville and includes several other agenda items.

The latest form of the election board resolution includes a change to how the local head of elections will be appointed, with the BOC deciding last week to keep that appointing power at their own table, rather than delegating it to a local grand jury.

County commissioners are putting the finishing touches on the resolution that will be considered by the 2013 Georgia General Assembly, which convened this week.

The proposed elections board will include three members, with two recommended by local Republicans and Democrats. The third position, the chairman’s post, will be a full-time election superintendent position who oversees elections and voter registration.

The board recently agreed to have the county grand jury recommend an election board chairman to a superior court judge. But commissioners voiced concern Jan. 7 about the possibility of someone other than current county registrar Tracy Dean being nominated for the post.

“I don’t want her job to be in jeopardy,” said commissioner John Pethel, referring to Dean.

The commissioners agreed last week to have the BOC make a recommendation to a superior court judge on the election board chairman, leaving the grand jury out of the process.

Leo Smith, Pittman precinct manager for over 20 years, has offered suggestions to the BOC on the election board proposal. Several of those recommendations have been adopted. But he wrote this week that he disagrees with the board’s latest decision to take the recommendation of an election board chairperson out of a grand jury’s hands.

“If you believe, as I do, that the board of elections and registration should be autonomous, free from political influence or interference, and that the grand jury should be the recommending authority for selecting the chairperson and staffing the proposed board of elections and registration office and not the BOC, you need to contact your district commissioner to inform him of your concerns or attend the BOC work session…” wrote Smith in a letter published in this week’s Journal.

OTHER AGENDA ITEMS

While the election board resolution will be a subject of discussion Jan. 25, the group will also tackle other county issues, including “discuss and review general and personnel policies, ordinances and local legislation,” “discuss use of county property” and “discuss all county department heads as needed.”

The agenda also includes opportunities for statements from citizens at the beginning and close of the meeting.

EDITOR’S NOTE: In this week’s print edition of The Madison County Journal, I listed this meeting as scheduled for this Friday (Jan. 18). But the meeting is actually Jan. 25. I apologize for my mistake. — Zach Mitcham

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