The five members of the Effingham County Board of Elections have finally been seated.
Thomas Allen was named as the fifth member to join Democratic Party representatives Ruth Lee and Homer Wallace and Republican Party selections Susie Davis and Herb Jones.
The elections board held an organizational meeting June 26 at the county administrative complex. Under House Bill 705, passed by both chambers of the General Assembly and signed by Gov. Sonny Perdue in May, will become effective July 1, pending U.S. Department of Justice approval.
While no official business was conducted, all board members were present and discussed the date, time and location of the first official meeting, and the need to research by-laws. Chairperson Verna Phillips and Effingham County staff and personnel were in attendance to provide support and to field any questions.
The first official meeting of the board of elections will be July 10 at 8:30 a.m. at the administrative complex.
Two members of the Board are “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 such member,” as stipulated by HB 705. Two additional members 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,” according to HB 705. The fifth and final member shall be chosen either on the agreement of the four members or if an agreement cannot be reached the fifth member shall be chosen by the Judge William Woodrum Jr., chief judge of the Superior Court of Effingham, in accordance with HB 705.
Because of illness and health concerns of several members appointed to the board, a meeting between the four board members involved could not be accommodated before the statute mandated deadline of June 15.
By a court order signed by Judge Woodrum, and pursuant to the Voting Records Act, the current board of registrars and its staff will remain in office to accommodate all voter registration until the new board of elections passes Department of Justice approval. The voter registration office is located at 306 North Ash St. across from the Effingham County Board of Education.
A copy of House Bill 705 and court orders are available at the Effingham County Administrative Complex located at 601 North Laurel St.