The Oconee County Board of Elections and Registration will meet at 11 a.m. on Monday to review a report on the verification of signatures by voters asking to put Ryan Repetske and Melissa Eagling on the ballot as Independent in November.
The Board will then vote to accept or reject the petitions from Repetske and Eagling, seeking to run for the Board of Education, according to Oconee County Director of Elections and Registration Rebecca Anglin. Anglin chairs the Board.
Anglin said on Friday that she and her staff completed signature verifications on both of the submitted petitions about 4:30 p.m. on Thursday.
Repetske, seeking to run for Post 2 on the Board of Education, and Eagling, seeking to run for Post 3, said they submitted more than the required 1,425 signatures of registered voters asking that their names be put on the ballot.
Anglin said on Friday that at the meeting on Monday “I'll disclose how many were accepted, rejected and needed.”
The meeting will be held at the Office of Elections and Registration, 10 Court Street, across from the Courthouse in downtown Watkinsville.
County Attorney Daniel Haygood said on Friday that local legislation necessitated the calling of the meeting for Monday.
|Board Of Elections At Meeting 6/27/2022|
Davis, Hanley, Anglin, Hammond, Shook (L-R)
“Under our local act and general state law, the Board of Elections is deemed to be the 'official' making the decision on validity or not” of the petitions, he said.
The local law passed by the General Assembly in 1994 replaced the then Superintendent of Elections and Board of Registrars with a “Board of Elections and Registration of Oconee County.”
That law authorizes the Board to appoint and train poll workers and do other things to manage elections in the county consistent with state law.
The Chairperson of the Board is designated as the Chief Executive Officer of the Board.
State law specifies that when any nomination petition is presented to the “office it shall be the duty of such officer to examine the same to the extent necessary to determine if it complies with the law.”
The law states that “No candidate shall be qualified if such nomination petition: (1) Contains material errors or defects apparent on the face thereof; (2) Contains material alterations made after signing without the consent of the signers; or (3) Does not contain a sufficient number of signatures of registered voters as required by law.”
The law states that the election superintendent “may question the genuineness of any signature appearing on a petition or the qualification of any signer whose signature appears thereon.”
“If the petition complies with the law, it shall be granted and the candidate named therein shall be notified in writing,” the law states.
“If the petition fails to comply with the law, it shall be denied and the candidate named therein shall be notified of the cause for such denial by letter directed to his or her last known address,” the law reads.
“The decision of the officer denying a nomination petition may be reviewed by the superior court of the county,” according to the law.
Composition of Board
In 1998, the legislature approved local legislation revising the 1994 local law to change the composition of the “Board of Elections and Registration of Oconee County.”
The new law stated that the Board should be made up of five members, rather than the three members under the 1994 law.
The 1998 law states that one member of the Board “shall be appointed by the political party which received the highest number of votes within the county for its candidate for governor in the general election immediately preceding the appointment of the member.”
“One member of the board shall be appointed by the political party which received the second highest number of votes within the county for its candidate for governor in the general election immediately preceding the appointment of such member,” the Act states.
The remaining three members are to be appointed by the Oconee County Board of Commissioners, which is to designate one of those three members as the Chair of the Board.
Members serve a four year term.
The Board of Commissioners appoints the Director of Elections and Registration as a member and as Chair of the Board.
The other two members appointed by the Board of Commissioners are Jay Hanley and Doug Hammond. Their four-year terms expire on Dec. 31, 2025.
The Republican Party appointed member is Kirk Shook, whose term expires in December of this year.
The Democratic Party appointed member is Ken Davis, whose term also expires in December of this year.
Hanley has the longest tenure among Board members, and he formerly was chair of the Oconee County Republican Party. He is vice chair of the Board.
Davis told me on Saturday that he was asked by Anglin on Thursday not to attend the meeting of the Board on Monday because he signed the petitions for Repetske and Eagling and because his wife, Pam Davis, and his daughter, Courtney Davis, were involved in the petition drive.
Davis said he appealed this decision to Anglin on Friday but has not yet received a response.
If both Repetske and Eagling are unsuccessful in their petition drive, the two Republican Party nominees, incumbent Amy Parrish for Post 2 and Ryan Hammock for Post 3, will appear on the November ballot unopposed.
The Democratic Party did not put up any candidates for the local elections.
Repetske is an operations manager at Athens Neurological Associates.
Eagling is an attorney.
Parrish is a senior financial advisor at Highland Trust Partners. She also is vice chair of the Board of Education.
Hammock is a senior vice president of Pinnacle Bank.
Repetske and Eagling emerged as candidates from an informal group of parents of children in Oconee County Schools who had raised concerns about the operation of the schools and about Board of Education oversight of the schools.
Repetske and Eagling rejected the option of running in either the Republican or the Democratic primaries.
Repetske said in a statement he released during the petition drive that he chose to run as an independent “because I believe that school board positions should be nonpartisan and politics should not play a role in decisions.”
Eagling said in a statement that she released during the drive that she wanted to run as an independent because “I believe our school board’s decisions should be directed by the entirety of the community and not be one political agenda or another.”
Courtney Davis was a member of the group of parents that encouraged Repetske and Eagling to run for the Board of Education seats.
Courtney Davis and Pam Davis are on the Executive Committee of the Oconee County Democratic Party.