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Election board begins to prep for 10 election
City council may contract with board for 11 election and after
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    In just its second month of existence, the Bulloch County Board of Elections and Registrations met Monday evening to begin preparations for the 2010 election cycle.
    The board of elections is responsible for overseeing all elections held in the county and makes decisions on items like the number of polling places, polling locations and contested matters. The implementation of the decisions is largely left to Bulloch County Elections Supervisor Patricia Lanier Jones.
    Last fall, the Bulloch County Board of Commissioners formed the elections board after pursuing its creation for more than a year.
    According to Commission Chair Garrett Nevil, establishing the board of elections required an act of state legislation. House Bill 383, sponsored by Georgia State representatives Bob Lane, Jon Burns and Butch Parrish, officially created the board and was enacted by the General Assembly of Georgia on July 1, 2009.
    A group of names was submitted at a commission meeting last October, and then J.D. Dunn, Wendy Denton and Theresa Jackson were appointed as inaugural board members whose terms started Jan. 1, 2010. Dunn and Jackson were appointed for four-year terms while Denton will serve an initial two-year term, which will become a four-year term when she is reappointed or replaced in 2012.
    Though the elections board will handle all of the county's elections, municipalities inside the county —Statesboro, Portal, Register and Brooklet — would have to contract with the elections board for them to oversee their city elections.
    Statesboro City Manager Shane Haynes said the city may contract with the county board of elections to handle its 2011 elections and beyond, but that the decision lies with the mayor and city council. Haynes was happy with the way the county handled the 2009 city elections and envisions the city would continue that relationship.
     “The largest benefit for (the city) is it removes city staff members from the election process. Not that we don't have capable people, it just takes out any perceived bias or any issue that a candidate might raise and takes the pressure off of our staff in conducting the city elections,” Haynes said. “We will probably see some cost savings, too, in that we don't have to pay overtime for city staff to work elections.”
    The council can elect to contract with the county board of elections on an election-by-election basis or the council could decide to amend the city ordinance and put the responsibility of election supervision permanently in the county board's hands.
    Members of the board will be compensated in the amount of $50 per meeting or other engagements that last up to four hours. Any engagements that last between four and 24 hours, board members will be compensated $86.75 per day.


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