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DeLoach: Bulloch County in need of an election board
lee deloach
DeLoach - photo by FILE
    Bulloch County is one of the largest counties in the state that still has its probate judge handling elections,  and Bulloch County Probate Judge Lee DeLoach feels it’s time to make a change.
    For a variety of reasons, Bulloch County needs an election board, he told Bulloch County Commissioners Tuesday. DeLoach has made similar requests in  the past, and told commissioners during their meeting Tuesday night “I think it’s time to address this situation again.”
    As probate judge, DeLoach handles a number of duties including administration of estates, with or without wills;  meeting with families prior to court proceedings regarding these; guardianship and conservatorships of minors and incapacitated adults; competency hearings; commitment hearings; and land line disputes.
    His office also handles firearms licenses and marriage licenses; explosives permits and storage of wills for safekeeping.
    Handling elections is also currently a duty of the probate judge’s office, and it is a time-consuming endeavor, he said. “Our county has grown to where putting on elections is a full time job.”
    The Bulloch County registrar’s office is “understaffed on election days like (the recent Nov. 4 presidential election),” he said. “Thank goodness we got through that day without any problems.”
    DeLoach gave credit to an excellent staff and poll workers for the election going as smoothly as it did.
    DeLoach said he would  gladly continue handling elections as part of his duties, but “The citizens of Bulloch County would be better served if we had an election board,” he told commissioners.
     Toombs County is working towards going to an election board, and Candler, Burke, Liberty, Emanuel and Tattnall counties already have election boards, he said.
    An election board would consist of six members, including a supervisor, who would handle the elections. The supervisor would be a paid county employee and the other board members would be paid per diem, he said.
    The supervisor would serve at the discretion of the board, which would in  turn serve as the discretion of the Board of Commissioners or a Superior Court judge, he said.
    Aside from the duties of handling elections becoming greater, DeLoach said being an elected official, handling elections is rather uncomfortable.
    “I think any elected official should be insulated from public elections,” he said, adding that to handle an election where you  may find yourself on  the ballot could lead to awkward situations.
    “I see the time coming,” he said. “It’s going to have to be addressed sooner or later, and in my humble opinion, it’s time.”
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