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Republicans oppose county veto on elections board picks

It was an unusual turn of events Thursday night, as Fayette County Republican Party chairman David Studdard implored the all-Republican Fayette County Commission to wipe out a December action that could lead to giving the county commission veto power over all future members of the county’s elections board.

As it stands now, the three-member board is constituted by one appointee each from the Republican and Democratic parties and one appointed by the county commission. But in a December vote, the county commission passed a resolution to seek a veto power over the Republican and Democratic appointees for the position.

The move drew criticism from outgoing commissioner Eric Maxwell, who said it won’t be right for the all-Republican commission to be able to turn away the Democratic Party’s elections board appointee.

Studdard, who also is the current-serving Republican appointee to the county elections board, made it clear Thursday night that the Republicans too have an issue with giving the county commission said veto power over all elections board appointees.

“My chief concern about that is I think that system raises at least the specter of impropriety in the minds of folks,” Studdard said, speaking during the public comment portion of the commission meeting.

In Studdard’s mind it is more than puzzling why a Democrat, Virgil Fludd, is the one “carrying” the local bill in the legislature for an all-Republican commission.

“He represents a very small portion of Fayette County and he’s carrying legislation that affects the entire county and the way the board of elections is constructed,” Studdard said.

It is entirely possible that the change will draw scrutiny from the U.S. Department of Justice that could perhaps result in district voting being forced on Fayette County, Studdard said.

Studdard said that he is familiar with the problems the commission has with the board of elections, and he feels the problems can be resolved by “simple communication” between the two groups instead of enacting the new legislation to tighten the county’s control over the elections board.

“There has been some miscommunication and some misunderstanding between the two bodies,” Studdard said.

Studdard noted that the executive committee of the Fayette County Republican Party is against giving the commission veto power over elections board appointees.

The elections board selection process, Studdard noted, was designed “so no single political entity has sole control over the administration of elections,” which he added must be administered with fairness and impartiality.

New county commissioner Steve Brown is also trying to get the commission’s December resolution overturned. It was approved on a 3-1 vote, with commissioners Jack Smith, Robert Horgan and Herb Frady voting in favor and Eric Maxwell voting against. Commissioner Lee Hearn was absent from that meeting and did not vote.

So far however, Brown has been unsuccessful in his attempt to get the matter put on a county commission agenda so the resolution can be brought back for a vote.

Studdard’s mention of district voting referred to Fludd’s most recent failed effort several years ago to require the county commission to move away from at-large voting, which allows each county resident to vote on all county commission seats.

Under a district voting system, the county would be broken up into five separate geographic districts, and voters would only be allowed to vote for one of the five commission seats which represents the geographic district they live in.

Some critics of the county’s current voting method have argued that at-large voting prevents minority candidates from being voted into office, whereas under a district voting system it would be easier for a minority candidate to get elected, as he or she would be acquainting themselves with a far smaller number of people in the district rather than having to introduce themselves to the entire county as a whole.



These clods simply don't get it. Have they done anything right??? They're sneaking things on the agendas and now they want to have tightfisted control over our elections.

It can't get much worse than those three stooges.

Mike King's picture

...but are you willing to step up to the plate. Your guy Brown has admitted he and his sidekick are but two votes and need help. Perhaps if you sat on the commission with him for awhile, you would realize what we in Peachtree City have known for years.

Fayette County does deserve better than it has, and that's for sure.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

Very easy to say we disaprove of how someone votes or behaves when he or she is an elected official, but much harder to replace them with someone of such impeccable character that the new person won't become drunk with power or enter into unsavory alliances. The removal part is easy - just vote anti-incumbent. But vote for who? A Brown is always better than an incumbent Smith simply because Smith is the incumbemt? Hardly.

Best be thinking now about who would be willing to run against these 3 now instead of just letting the normal egomaniacs surface right before the election and winning solely on the basis that they are not the incumbent office-holder. By not cultivating good candidates, we have gotten Brown (twice), Logsdon and Haddix (twice). Surely we have better people than that living here.

Live free or die!

Mike King's picture

You nailed it. Just how many of our qualified residents are willing to be villified just for the prospect of serving? I agree that the two new commissioners are a far cry from what we could have, and to the astonishment of their supporters, no better than the two they replaced.

Fayette County has a choice in whether to replace the three 'old' commissioners with the ilk of Steve Brown who will assuredly tire of his "my way or the highway" mentality or three individuals that will expose Mr Brown for the egomaniac he is.

While I don't know him personally, I have read nothing but excellent reports about Paul Oddo and his work on the Fayetteville City Council. Perhaps he could be convinced to run. Just a thought.

I guess I don't understand your attitude about "we can surely do better than what we have for Fayetteville," or something like that!

When we start to seriously question the ability of the general electorate to elect who they want with a majority vote, and in between elections, then there is something wrong with the system, other than good people not wanting to suffer in the job!

I'm not sure at all if someone who fears or dreads to serve due to criticism is the person we need! It is not required that the electorate, or others, have great respect for those elected.

Usually I try to criticize the idiots that aren't elected yet to stop them from getting elected, but once in---they are there for a term.

I will criticize Boehner for his philosophy but not for being Speaker, for instance. I will also criticize President Obama for his errors also, but not for being President.

Mostly though we must not elect such as Palin for more than Mayor, nor Jessee Jackson (Sr. and Jr.) for more than Community Organizers.

Mike King's picture

You might want to consider that it's not the electorate's ability to elect the best of candidates, but rather the WILLINGNESS of that electorate to do so. Compare previous elections with an eye on the percentage of registered voters to actual turnout.

Any leader possessing fear of criticism is an insecure individual outside his/her element.

ptctaxpayer's picture

Do the math, wise guy--- yer win-less and Brown is .500.

Mike King's picture

You're absolutely right, but then, I've lost only one.

To be perfectly honest I wish I could run. Probably would've in my younger days but I was traveling on Uncle Sam's dime. My wife has got some health problems and my body has seen better days.

Glad you had a shot at it. You ought to consider another run.

My "guy Brown" is doing a helluva lot better than the three stooges. I got pissed at Brown over TDK and he ended up being right. Cut the guy some slack at least he's pointing the guns in the right direction.

I'm thinking about going to one of their meetings.

birdman's picture

As many have commented, people don't want to enter the political arena due to the incredibly ungrateful electorate. We attack those we disagree with with a vengence. Who wants to deal with that day in and day out where your family and friends hear you called all sorts of names, i.e "three stooges." But that is politics worldwide. As for Brown, and I assume you will hit me about my comments about him, you are right. He is pointing the guns in the right direction. But his tenure is young. Those guns will be swinging soon.
As for your support of his stance on TDK, are you talking about his "TDK Not Now Not Ever" stance or his "Our current council was the only one that actually programmed funds in the city’s budget for TDK....Brown said there was not a person on Council against TDK,” (Council Minutes, Jan. 2, 2003)." Just curious, did you support him when he opposed it, supported it, claimed credit for it, or opposed it. Just asking.

As I said, and I only mention this preemptively, I hold Brown accountable for his past record. I do think it speaks to what we can expect from him the next four years. So far he is doing ok. The rest remains to be seen.

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