Members of the Hall County Board of Elections are wanting to bring the county Elections Director under their supervision and voted unanimously this afternoon to take legal action, if necessary.
In a special called meeting, members voted to allow attorney Ken Jarrard with Jarrard & Davis, LLP to begin discussion with county representation over supervisory responsiblity of the Elections Director. This position currently reports to the County Administrator.
Jarrard explained that the board's concern centers around a 2014 act passed by the Georgia General Assembly that created the Board of Elections. He said that this act was later amended by the Hall County Board of Commissioners in 2018.
"The issue is that the Hall County Board of Elections is a creature of local acts, adopted and approved through the Georgia General Assembly," said Jarrard. "The Hall County Board of Commissioners amended the local acts applicable to the Board of Registrations to set up an Elections Director situation and the Hall County Board of Elections now is of the mind that may not have been proper."
Tom Smiley, chairman of the Board of Elections, provided his stance on the issue in a statement prior to the vote. In part, he said the Director of Elections should be accountable to the Board of Elections.
"I feel strongly that the integrity and responsibility of Hall County elections, including the supervision, development and oversight of the Director of Elections, rests uniquely with the Board as it was approved by the governor and state legislature on April 10, 2014," said Smiley. "Clearly the act that established the Election Board, intended for accountability over the Hall County elections, including the Director of Elections, to begin and end with this board."
Board members did not give a clear reason for the timing of the decision in the meeting, but Jarrard said that it did not have anything to do with recent allegations of voter fraud in the 2020 elections.
"I'm simply going to say that some actions have been taken of late that just highlight the fact that the Elections Director needs to report to the Board of Elections," said Jarrard.
Jarrard clarified that no lawsuit has been filed yet and that litigation is dependent on discussion with county officials. Hall County Government spokesperson Katie Crumley declined comment.