Chatham County leaders call for independent investigation into June Primary issues

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CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WSAV) – The Chatham County Republican Party and other groups are calling for an investigation into the June primary election after numerous problems. A few Georgia counties including Chatham County had problems during the primary election.

“We have to know that what’s being done here in Chatham County is fixed before November,” First Vice-Chair of Chatham County Republican Party, Carl Smith said.

In a bipartisan effort, members of both parties showed up outside of the Board of Elections office Monday to call on the Secretary of State and Chatham County Commissioners to hold the Chatham County Board of Elections accountable after the June Primary mishaps. The Republican Party asked for Monday’s Board of Elections meeting to be postponed until a public comment on the issue could be provided.

The board responded to this saying, “The Board of Elections will not bow to political pressures to postpone Monday’s meeting and the important elections work at hand.”

“We’re also asking for the Chatham County Commission to initiate their own review of the current superintendent and the members of the Board of Elections and to seek to correct the mistakes and almost complete lack of oversight that has transpired the last few years,” Smith said.

County Commissioner Jay Jones was asked whether or not County Commission could handle a review like this.

“It’s not whether we can handle it or not it’s something that needs to be done,” Jones said.

Last month voting was delayed for many precincts in the county after voting machine problems. There were allegations that there was a lack of training for poll workers.

“It was a very difficult training environment when people were scared. They came to the classroom scared and they were worried about their health,” Board of Elections Training Manager, Billy Wooten said.

The Board of Elections addressed this issue Monday admitting there are problems caused by the pandemic that needs to be hashed out.

“But we know that we’ve got to fix the issues prior to November,” Wooten said.

The Board of Elections said during the meeting that they are prepared for the runoffs coming up in August. There will be more training to be better prepared come November.

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