Albany county official named to state election advisory board

ALBANY, Ga. -- Dougherty County Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard has been named by Secretary of State Brian Kemp to serve on his newly formed Elections Advisory Council.

Including Kemp and Sinyard, the council consists of 16 individuals. Kemp said the group includes city and county officials, county election directors, representatives from Democratic, Independent, Libertarian and Republican backgrounds, and members of the Georgia General Assembly.

"Georgia has taken tremendous steps to implement numerous safeguards and voting opportunities that make our elections among the most secure and accessible in the country," Kemp said this morning. "Though we are proud of the progress we have made to secure our elections and guarantee ballot access, I know there are always opportunities to improve our elections processes at all levels of government."

Kemp said the council in 2011 will review the Georgia Election Code and State Election Board Rules, and make recommendations that improve and strengthen Georgia's election laws and procedures. The council will look particularly at improvements that create cost savings and increase efficiencies for state, county and local governments, he said.

Other council members are state Sen. Cecil Staton, R-Macon; state Sen. Hardie Davis, D-Augusta; state Rep. Mark Hamilton, R-Cumming; state Rep. Rusty Kidd, I-Milledgeville; Anne Lewis, general counsel, Georgia Republican Party; Mike Jablonski, general counsel, Democratic Party of Georgia; David Shock, associate professor of political science, Kennesaw State University; Todd Blackwell, Baldwin County probate judge and elections superintendent; Beth Kish, elections and registration manager, Cobb County Board of Elections & Registration; Deborah Marshall, Columbia County elections director; Charlotte Sosebee, Hall County interim elections director; Nancy Boren, director, Muscogee County Office of Elections and Voter Registration; Richard Barclift, elections superintendent, Chickamauga; Charles Schwabe, mayor, Swainsboro.

The Council will conduct meetings throughout the State to receive input from the public, organizations, county elections directors and elected officials at all levels of government, Kemp says. All suggestions and written materials submitted by council members and the public will be placed on a dedicated Elections Advisory Council website.

The Council will meet multiple times in 2011 and make recommendations for legislative or State Election Board rule changes that will be proposed in 2012.

"One of my key responsibilities as Georgia's secretary of state is to ensure the highest degrees of fairness, access, security and transparency in a non-partisan manner in all of our elections processes," Kemp said. "The Elections Advisory Council and I look forward to hearing and sharing the views of Georgians on how we can all work together to accomplish these goals."