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Brown: veto power for elections board will die in legislature

A bid to give the Fayette County Commission veto power over political parties’ appointees to the county elections board will not go forward in the Georgia legislature, effectively halting the controversial move in its tracks, according to Commissioner Steve Brown.

Brown in a news release Thursday said he has received three confirmations that the legislation will not advance during the legislative session.

Last December, the county commission approved a resolution seeking the veto power on a 3-1 vote, with commissioners Herb Frady, Robert Horgan and Jack Smith voting in favor and commissioner Eric Maxwell against.

Maxwell said the move was tantamount to giving the all-Republican commission a veto power particularly over the Democrat Party’s appointee, which he didn’t think would pass muster with the U.S. Justice Department.

Then it turns out the local Republican Party was wary of the veto power’s potential for abuse. At last week’s county commission meeting, Fayette County Republican Party Chairman — and Board of Elections member — David Studdard implored the commission to rescind the resolution and instead work on improving communication between the commission and the board of elections.

Studdard also noted that the Fayette County Republican Party’s executive committee had passed a resolution opposing the addition of a veto power for elections board candidates.

The county’s elections board consists of three members. One member each is appointed by the Republican and Democratic parties, and the third member is appointed by the county commission.

Brown and fellow Commissioner Allen McCarty credited the Republican Party for dealing with the issue.

“They should be commended for taking a bold stand,” Brown said.

McCarty said he preferred for the legislation to be rescinded by a vote from the commission, but he acknowledged that the bill dying in the legislature would accomplish the same goal.

“Those proposed changes would have had a chilling effect on our process of conducting fair elections,” McCarty said.

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