Thursday May 23rd, 2024 3:09AM

Hall County legislators call Oakwood election issues "inexcusable"

By Caleb Hutchins Assistant News Director

A letter signed by all seven members of the Hall County State House delegation is calling the recent discrepancies reported in a recent special election in the city of Oakwood "inexcusable."

The letter was signed by Representatives David Clark (R-Buford), Brent Cox (R-Dawsonville), Matt Dubnik (R-Gainesville), Emory Dunahoo (R-Gillsville), Lee Hawkins (R-Gainesville), Soo Hong (R-Lawrenceville) and Derrick McCollum (R-Chestnut Mountain). It was issued in response to a recent Hall County Board of Elections and Registrations document that said 200 of the 519 votes cast in the Oakwood City Council race on March 12 were cast by voters who should not have been able to vote in the race.

The document also said 22 people who should have been able to vote in the race did not have the item included on their ballot. Rhonda Wood defeated Volley Collins by an 88-vote margin to win the Post 4 seat that was left vacant by the death of her husband, Dwight Wood, in September of 2023.

The letter warned that the discrepancies could create distrust in the county and state's election process and called on both Hall County and Georgia officials to address the issue.

House District 30 Representative Derrick McCollum was the driving force behind the letter. McCollum told AccessWDUN Thursday afternoon that Senators Bo Hatchett and Shelly Echols were also on board with the letter.

McCollum said he first learned about the issues in the days immediately following the election.

"I had some constituents reach out to me that didn't live in Oakwood, and said, 'Hey, I voted in this election and I don't live in Oakwood,'" McCollum said. 

McCollum told AccessWDUN he felt that another election should be held due to the discrepancies.

"It just bothers me that they're going to swear [Wood] in without having another election," McCollum said. "I hate to cost the taxpayers money, but I feel like they could just have another election on the May primary date and it wouldn't cost taxpayers any more money."

Hall County Elections Director Lori Wurtz said Thursday evening that she is "unable to make a statement at this time." Georgia Secretary of State's Office Spokesman Robert Sinners said his office did not have an open file on the incident.

Oakwood city officials have also declined to comment on the matter.

The full letter signed by the legislators is below:

"The Hall County Legislative Delegation is aware of the serious problems in Oakwood's recent city election. It is inexcusable that 200 people who were ineligible to vote in the city were allowed to vote and that 22 voters who were eligible to vote were not given the opportunity to vote. This should not happen. This situation only stands to create distrust in our elections process. We are calling on the local and state election officials to take action to address and fix this issue."

  • Associated Categories: Homepage, Local/State News
  • Associated Tags: Georgia legislature, hall county, Election, oakwood, Georgia politics
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