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WILCOX BOARD OF ELECTIONS MEETS BALLOT REJECTION/POLLING PLACE SECURITY HIGHLIGHTED

Lucas C. Allison, Dispatch Correspondent

The Wilcox Board of Elections held its regular monthly meeting on Election Day.  They discussed under old business to avoid any conflict of law that if more than three members were to be present together it would be a quorum so we much make public notification as an official meeting prior to such meeting.  Approved a motion to request a part-time position for the Elections Supervisors office to be submitted to County Manager and Commissioners for approval.  The position would less than 30 hours, with possibility to make full-time during elections if possible.  Chairman Mike Sutton noted during the discussion that this position was currently not in the budget.  Under new business the board considered a challenge to the acceptance of the ballot of a voter who is currently in CA but is still listed on the Secretary of States Office Voter Database as an eligible voter in Wilcox County.  Chairman Sutton noted that Wilcox Elections sent the ballot that was requested it was returned in compliance with law, he did not see how the ballot could be rejected.  Mr. Sutton said we must be absolutely sure about rejecting a voter’s ballot.  Chairman Sutton recommended the ballot be accepted he was joined in the affirmative by Board members Hollingsworth and Madison, members Peebles and Bailey abstained so the ballot was accepted with a three to zero vote.  Chairman Sutton then brought up polling location security once election machines are placed in location.  He stated he was advised Tuesday morning after voting that the Rochelle North and Rochelle South polling location at Newt Hudson Ag Center was not maintained securely after machines installed.  He stated the Rochelle Marketplace DDA was allowed to hold a meeting in the cafeteria portion of the polling location Monday night January 4th, he stated he does not believe the machines or polling location was tampered with however we must maintain total security to avoid any possibility for breach of election integrity or the appearance thereof.  It was approved to send notification to all polling locations requesting that when polling locations are needed for elections to reserve the day before, the day of and the day after the election.  April Grahamn, Elections Supervisor was advised to make sure and give ample notice for use of the facilities.  The Board of Elections meets the 1st Monday of each month 830am at the Elections Supervisors office 337 W. College Street Abbeville, GA.  There being no further business the meeting was adjourned.  The counting of absentee ballots began at 4:30pm, there were 454 total absentee ballots to be opened and processed.  It was noted early voting in person total was 1151, it was noted that sixty-two absentee ballots had been cancelled when turned in to vote in person, also two ballots were rejected one with an invalid signature and one with no signature at all.  Wilcox had a 59.09% voter participation rate for the January 5th runoff election.  Senator Perdue won Wilcox with 73.21 %  of vote with 2085 votes, and 26.79% and 763 votes for John Ossoff.  Sen. Kelly Loeffler had 73.10% 2084 votes over Rev. Raphael Warnock 26.90% 767 votes.