Amy Parrish, the sole qualified Republican for Post 2 on the Oconee County Board of Education, has voted Democratic in one primary, voted Republican in eight, and skipped five primaries since she moved to Oconee County in 2008.
Prior to that, voting in Clarke County, Parrish voted using the Democratic ballot in four of the five primaries in which she participated.
Ryan Repetske, who is seeking to challenge Parrish in November as an Independent, has voted Democratic in two primaries and not voted in five primaries since he began voting in Oconee County in November of 2012.
Melissa Eagling, who has qualified to run as an Independent for Post 3 on the Board of Education, has voted Republican in one out of three primaries since she moved back to Oconee in November in 2016, and she did not vote in the two others.
Repetske and Eagling are soliciting signatures on petitions to certify their qualification to run as Independents.
The three Republicans seeking the party’s nomination as the Post 3 candidate–Ryan Hammock, Julie Mauck, and Elliott Rogers--all have voted exclusively in Republican primaries, but Rogers has skipped one of the party’s primaries.
Mauck has been in Oconee County only for four years and has voted in the sole Republican primary during that time period.
An individual’s voting history is a public record, and I decided to request these files for all eight of the candidates who qualified March 7 to 11 for the Oconee County Board of Education and for the Board of Commissioners.
I obtained the voter history files for Republican Commission Candidates Chuck Horton (Post 2) and Amrey Harden (Post 3), as well as for the six candidates for the Board of Education.
I did this in anticipation of questions about Eagling and Repetske, since they qualified as Independents and no Democrats qualified for any of the local races.
The voting history file contain a record of every vote cast by the individual and indicates which ballot the individual requested in a primary.
Since Georgia voters do not register by party, votes in primaries are often used as a surrogate for party affiliation, and frequency of participation in primaries as an indicant of partisan commitment.
Independent candidates Eagling and Repetske must next file a nomination petition with the signatures of five percent of the number of registered voters who voted in the most recent election for filling the office the candidate is seeking.
According to Jennifer Stone, assistant director of Elections and Registration for Oconee County, Repetske and Eagling will need to have 1,425 verified signatures of registered Oconee County voters on their nomination petition.
The first day that Repetske and Eagling can turn in a petition is June 27, and the last day to turn in a petition is noon on July 12.
Parrish’s first recorded vote in her data file was in November of 1990 in Clarke County, and she has cast 37 votes since that time, the first 13 of them in Clarke County and the remaining 24 in Oconee County.
|Parrish From |
Oconee County Schools
Parrish voted in the 1996 Presidential Primary with the Republican ballot, and voted with a Democratic ballot the next five times she participated in a primary, ending with the 2008 Presidential Primary, which was her first vote in Oconee County.
Parrish has cast eight Republican Primary ballots, starting with the July primary in 2010.
Starting with the February 2008 Presidential Primary vote in Oconee County, Parrish could have cast a ballot 34 times, including in 14 primaries. Parrish voted in 24 of those elections, including in nine of the 14 primaries.
In her qualifying file, Parrish reported living in Oconee County 15 years. Her final vote in Clarke County was in December of 2006.
Parrish voted in the March 16, 2021, special election referendum on the Education Local Option Sales Tax.
Parrish voted Absentee 10 out of the 24 times she cast a ballot since she moved to Oconee county, including in five of the last six elections for which she voted. (See note below. Absentee can include advance voting.)
In sum, since moving to Oconee County, Parrish has voted Democratic in one primary, voted Republican in eight, and skipped five primaries.
Repetske has 12 votes in his voting history file, with the first for the November of 2004 election. That vote and the two that followed were in Clarke County, and the remaining nine were in Oconee County.
Repetske cast a Democratic ballot in the presidential primary in 2008 in Clarke County, a Democratic ballot in the presidential primary in 2016 after he moved to Oconee County, and a Democratic ballot in the combined June 2021 General Primary and Presidential Primary.
Starting with the November 2012 General Election, the first vote Repetske cast in Oconee County, he could have participated in 19 elections, including seven primaries. He cast a ballot in nine of those elections, including in two of the seven primaries.
Repetske, in his qualifying file, reported he has lived in Oconee County 11 years. His last recorded vote in Clarke County was in November of 2008.
Repetske did not vote in the March 2021 referendum on the Education Local Option Sales Tax.
Repetske voted Absentee in three of the nine elections for which he cast a ballot in Oconee County, including in his last vote, in the Jan. 5, 2021, runoff election.
In sum, since he began voting in Oconee County in November of 2012, Repetske has voted Democratic in two primaries and not voted in five primaries.
Eagling’s first vote recorded in her file was in the general election in November of 2000. She cast that vote in Oconee County, and she voted in Oconee again in November of 2004 and November of 2008.
Her next recorded vote was in November of 2012 in DeKalb County. She voted, again in DeKalb, in the March 2016 presidential primary, and used a Democratic ballot.
In November of 2016, Eagling again voted in Oconee County. In her qualifying file, she indicated she has lived in Oconee County six years.
Starting with that election, she could have voted in 13 elections through last November. She voted in six.
Three of those 13 elections were primaries. She voted in only one of them, the merged June 9 primary of 2020. She used the Republican ballot.
She did not vote in the March 16, 2021, special election on the Education Local Option Sales Tax.
In the six elections in which Eagling cast a ballot since November of 2016, she voted Absentee three times, including in the last two elections in which she voted, On Nov. 3, 2020, and Jan. 5, 2021.
In sum, since moving back to Oconee in November in 2016, Eagling has voted Republican in one out of three primaries, and she did not vote in two of them.
Hammock’s first recorded vote in his voter file was in November of 2000 in Hall County. He cast a ballot in four elections in Hall County, six in Clarke County, and 14 in Oconee County, starting with the Presidential Primary on March 1, 2016.
Hammock has used the Republican ballot in nine primaries, including in five primaries in Oconee County since that March 2016 vote. In his qualifying materials. Hammock said he has lived in Oconee County eight years. The records show he last voted in Clarke on Nov. 4, 2014.
Starting with that March 1, 2016, vote, Hammock could have voted in 15 elections in Oconee County, and he voted in 14 of them. He missed only the Dec. 6, 2016, general election runoff.
Five of those elections were primaries, and Hammock voted in all five of them.
Hammock cast a ballot in the special election on March 16, 2021, for the Education Local Option Sales Tax referendum.
In 10 of the 14 elections for which Hammock cast a ballot since March of 2016, he voted Absentee, including for nine of his last 10 ballots cast.
In sum, since moving to Oconee County, Hammock has voted Republican in all five of the primaries held since that time.
Mauck’s file contains eight entries, starting with a vote in the 2000 Presidential Primary in Cherokee County. Mauck voted with the Republican ballot in that election.
Mauck’s next vote, after that vote in Cherokee County in 2000, was in Nov. 6, 2018, in Oconee County. In her qualifying materials, she indicated she has lived in Oconee County four years. In June of 2020, in the merged presidential and state primary, Mauck voted with the Republican ballot.
Starting with the November election in 2018, Mauck could have voted in eight elections, including one primary. She voted in seven of those elections, including in the single primary.
The only election Mauck did not vote in was in the March 2021 special election on the Education Local Option Sales Tax referendum.
In five of the seven elections in which Mauck cast a ballot, she voted Absentee.
In sum, since moving to Oconee county in 2018, Mauck has voted Republican in the sole primary held.
Rogers’ first recorded vote was in November of 1998 in Gwinnett County. That was followed by four more votes in Gwinnett, and eight in Walton County.
Rogers’ first recorded Oconee County vote was in the Nov. 8, 2016, General Election.
Rogers cast one Republican ballot in Gwinnett County, one in Walton County, and two in Oconee County. In his qualifying file, Rogers reported living in Oconee County seven years, and his last recorded vote in Walton County was in November of 2014.
Starting with the Nov. 8, 2016, General Election, Rogers could have cast 13 ballots in Oconee County, including in three primaries.
Rogers has cast a vote in nine of the 13 elections, including in two of the three primaries. He missed the July 24, 2018, primary runoff.
Rogers did not vote in the March 2021 Education Local Option Sales Tax referendum.
Rogers voted by Absentee in three of the nine elections he participated in in Oconee County.
In sum, since moving to Oconee County in November of 2016, Rogers has voted Republican in two of the three primaries held and skipped voting in the third.
Horton And Harden
Incumbents Horton and Harden have qualified in the Republican Primary for Post 2 and Post 3 respectively on the Oconee County Board of Commissioners.
No Republicans are challenging them, and no Democrats filed to run against them in November.
Horton’s voting file goes back to a special election on Sept. 19, 1995.
Harden’s file goes back to that same election.
Horton has cast a Republican ballot 29 times since that date, and he has never cast a Democratic ballot.
Harden has cast 26 Republican ballots and two Democratic ballots.
Harden’s two Democratic ballots were in 1998, in the July General Primary and in the August General Primary Runoff.
Republican Party Assessment
Kathy Hurley, chair of the Oconee County Republican Party, sent out an email on Saturday morning, labeled “March 2022 Newsletter and Meeting Updates!” in which she reported on qualifying.
“The Democrat party failed to qualify any candidates but there are two ‘independent’ candidates, one for each BOE post, who must secure signature petitions by July to appear on the November ballot,” she wrote.
“A quick look in the GA GOP Data Center classifies both candidates as Hard Democrats and we will discuss that topic briefly at our March meeting and forward until the May Primary,” she wrote.
Hurley did not explain what data are included in the files at the Georgia Republican Party Data Center that would lead to the classification of Repetske and Eagling as “Hard Democrats.”
Hurley also announced that Mauck, who has been on the local Republican Party Executive Committee, has resigned, following party rules for qualified candidates.
The party will meet at 6:30 p.m. on March 28 in Marswood Hall, 3761 Mars Hill Road, where Parrish, Hammock, Mauck, and Rogers are being featured.
The party does not allow me to video record its meetings.
Democratic Party Meeting
At the Democratic Party meeting on Thursday (March 17), Courtney Davis, who was handling candidate recruitment for the party, said she had been unsuccessful in recruiting candidates for the local races.
“Our local elections for Board of Commission and School Board are partisan elections and non-districted,” she said, “So we are very hobbled as a minority party in those types of elections.
“So we were unable to recruit any candidates for the Board of Commissioners or Board of Education,” she said, “but there are two Independent candidates.”
“I’m not sure I’ve seen them at one of our meetings,” she said of Eagling and Repetske.
Davis said that John Phillips, who was in attendance at the virtual meeting, was helping Eagling and Repetske with the petition drive necessary for an Independent to complete qualification.
Phillips, who has been active in a group of parents with children in Oconee County Schools, is not a leader in the party.
NOTE: Assistant Election Director Stone emailed me at 8:12 a.m. on 3/20/2022 to say that the code Absentee "doesn't necessarily mean by mail. Many times it reflect absentee in person which means advanced voting. It's considered absentee because they aren't present on Election Day. That's how it is codified in the election code."