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State issues findings on Statesboro election complaints
Board finds minor errors in city council vote
judy mcCorkle
Judy McCorkle - photo by FILE
    The Georgia State Election board ruled last week on four allegations of voter irregularities stemming from the Statesboro City Council election in November.
    The first allegation came from complaints made to the secretary of state’s office regarding the first day of early voting at City Hall. Statesboro police officers were seen inside the polling area allegedly assisting with poll worker duties. Several students said the officers were intimidating them, sparking a state-wide controversy that grabbed the attention of voter advocacy groups in Washington, D.C.
    While investigator Robert Conway found that City Elections Supervisor Judy McCorkle did request police presence at the polls, he said he was unable to find any voter who was specifically intimidated during the election.
    Also, the board also decided to refer cases against voters Jessica Madden and Mary Nicholson to the state attorney general’s office. According to the investigator’s report, the two women listed other addresses besides their primary residences on  voter registration cards. However, it was found that the two had used their actual addresses when voting.
    It will be up to the attorney general’s office to determine whether or not to continue the investigation.
    Also, according to the state election board’s meeting summary posted on the secretary of state Web site, the board decided to issue a “letter of instruction” to McCorkle, though they did not state the reason in the report.
    According to Secretary of State Spokesman Matt Carrothers, as reported by the The Times in Gainesville, a letter of instruction spells out “in detail what (the office) did wrong and how to properly follow election procedures in the future.”
    A copy of the letter is not yet unavailable.
    McCorkle said there is a discrepancy between the board’s summary and the actual events that took place at the meeting.
    “That’s not what they said to me (about a letter of instruction),” said McCorkle. “I’d rather not comment until … I know there is a lot of misinformation out there and I have contacted the State Elections Board and asked them to send me in writing what their findings were and what the board’s actions were.”
    McCorkle said that once she receives such information she would pass it along to the Herald.
    A fourth allegation discussed at the meeting concerned voter registration drives taking place at night at local clubs and that students were rewarded with prizes for registering to vote. While the investigator did find multiple instance of voter registration drives being held in the parking lot of local night clubs,“there was no evidence that voter registration took place where alcohol was being sold and served.”

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