The Oconee County Board of Elections and Registration, over the objection of its Republican Party representative, voted on Monday to accept the petitions of Melissa Eagling and Ryan Repetske to run as Independents for the Board of Education in November.
Director of Elections and Registration Rebecca Anglin said Eagling and Repetske had met the requirement that each get 1,425 signatures of voters on petitions asking that they be placed on the ballot.
Anglin said she and her staff had spent seven days checking that the procedures for filing the petitions had followed state law and making sure that each signature on the petition matched the signature on the voter registration form.
Anglin said 197 signatures on Eagling’s petition forms were rejected, and that same number of signatures on Repetske’s petition forms were rejected.
That left 1,477 accepted signatures for Eagling and 1,470 for Repetske.
Kirk Shook, appointed by the Oconee County Republican Party to the Board, said he would not support the motion to accept the petitions because he had “some concern about the way the petitions were collected” based on “information that I got.”
Democratic Board Member Ken Davis recused himself in the vote because he signed the petition and because members of his family were involved in the petition drive. Board member Jay Hanley did not attend the meeting.
Board Member Doug Hammond joined Anglin in voting to put Repetske and Eagling on the ballot to run against Republicans Amy Parrish and Ryan Hammock for Posts 2 and 3 of the School Board respectively in November.
Format Of Meeting
Anglin began the meeting with the petitions of Eagling, seeking to run as an Independent for Post 3.
|Shook, Left, Reviewing Petitions|
Davis, Anglin, Hammond, Haygood Looking On (L-R)
Eagling submitted petitions with 1,674 signers, Anglin said, 197 of which were rejected, leaving the 1,477 accepted.
“This petition has met the requirement of 1,425 signatures needed for nomination and to make the ballot,” she said.
She then asked for questions from the other Board members.
“I would like to make sure we go through and make sure the petitions are all in order for code,” Shook said. “I have not seen them as of yet.”
Anglin On Procedures
“I can give you a background on how we actually–what our office did,” Anglin said.
“The pages are in order,” she said. “They come in. All the pages have to have a circulator signature. A notary signature. And of course the signatures in the county that signed the petition.”
“So we went through one page at a time,” she continued. “One name at a time. We looked at the signature we have on file for the signer. That has to match their signature on here,” she said, pointing to the petitions.
“If it does not match, the signature is struck through and rejected. If it does match, then that signature is accepted,” she continued.
“We mark in our system every signature that comes in,” she said.
Anglin said the petitions contained 10 duplicates, 49 people who were not registered voters, typically young people not registered yet, and eight for whom it was not possible to verify or read the handwriting.
The remainder were rejected for some other reason, she said.
Shook then went over all the listed code requirements for the form itself.
“Were they bound together when they were filed constituting one nominating petition?” Shook asked?
“Each sheet numbered consecutively, beginning with number one at the foot of each page?” he asked.
“And it was subscribed and sworn by a notary?” Shook asked.
“Each signer manually signed his or her own name?” he asked.
In response to each of these questions and the others Shook asked about code requirements on the technical requirements of the form, Anglin responded affirmatively.
Secretary Of State
“If we found any signing that we believed the person signed it did not truly sign their name, all of those names will be turned over to the Secretary of State,” Anglin said.
Anglin said “1,477 matched the voting card records here. The 197 that did not match, the Secretary of State Office will take a further look at those.”
“In our findings, I rejected those signatures,” she said. “So those are not valid signatures. We turn the circulator's name, as well as the individual signer's name, over to the Secretary of State’s Office.”
County Attorney Daniel Haygood sat in on the meeting on Monday, and he said Anglin and her staff are trained in hand writing analysis.
“While I’m not a professional in the field, I do have training, as well as my staff here has training,” Anglin said.
“And it took us right at seven days to go through all of these and verify them,” Anglin said. “And that is all that we have worked on in our office from the time we get here until the time that we leave. This has been our sole project.”
Call For Vote
Shook asked to see the petitions and spent some time paging through them.
When he finished, Anglin called for a motion to approve the verified petitions.
Hammond voted yes, and Shook voted no.
“I have some concern about the way the petitions were collected and information that I got so until I find out more about it I cannot vote yes on that,” he said.
“I vote that we accept the petition as recommended,” Anglin said, breaking the tie. “So the motion will carry to accept the nominating petition for Melissa Eagling.”
Davis is the Democratic Party appointee on the Board, while Anglin, Hammond, and Hanley are appointed by the Board of Commissioners.
Anglin next turned to the petitions submitted for Repetske.
The petitions contained the names of 1,667 signers, Anglin said.
The total accepted signatures was 1,470, she said, with 197 rejected.
“The petition does meet the requirements of the 1,425 signatures needed for nomination,” she said.
Anglin passed the petitions to Shook, who this time simply asked if “All of the things for code 170 match up?” He was referring to Georgia Code Section 21-2-170.
“Yes sir,” Anglin responded.
Shook again voted no.
“Same thing as before,” he said. “I’m concerned about the way signatures were collected.”
The Democratic Party did not put up any candidates for the local elections, so Repetske and incumbent Parrish will be the only two names on the ballot for Post 2.
Repetske is an operations manager at Athens Neurological Associates.
Parrish is a senior financial advisor at Highland Trust Partners. She also is vice chair of the Board of Education.
Eagling and Hammock will be on the ballot for Post 3.
Eagling is an attorney.
Hammock is a senior vice president of Pinnacle Bank.
The video below is of the entire meeting of the Board of Elections and Registration.
Anglin agreed to use my camera to create a video record of Board meetings.
A group of citizens attended the meeting as observers. These individuals are not visible in the video because they were behind the camera.
I was unable to attend the meeting today due to work responsibilities.
Mr. Shook did not fulfill his responsibilities to the citizens of the county. He had an obligation to research his concerns before this meeting. He had plenty of time to do so. Also, he should have specifically stated what his concerns were. Very disappointing. One conclusion might be that he just did not want any opposition to republican candidates, certainly not embracing democracy.
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