Dougherty County Attorney Spencer Lee, left, speaks with City Attorney Nathan Davis before a special-called meeting of the Dougherty County Elections Board as Ward II Candidate Cheryl Calhoun and her husband Randal look on. Calhoun was disqualified as a candidate because she lives in Ward I.
ALBANY ALBANY — Ward I Albany City Commissioner Jon Howard is proposing that the commission research whether to refund former commission candidate Cheryl Calhoun’s qualifying fee after she was disqualified from running in the Ward II race because she lived in Ward I.
Commissioners asked city staff to study the issue and bring it back to the body for discussion at a future meeting.
“After she attended the board of elections (meeting) last week, the board of elections admitted they made a mistake and verified that she was in Ward I rather than Ward II. ... I believe that it would be the fair thing to do to refund her qualifying fee,” Howard said.
“It wasn’t her mistake, it was elections’ mistake, and to be good stewards of the city I believe it’s the appropriate thing to do.”
Calhoun was disqualified from the Ward II race after officials determined that she lived in Ward I. She originally intended to run in Ward I against Howard, but she was told by elections officials that she lived in Ward II.
Elections officials based that determination on maps created by the city’s planning department.
Calhoun said Tuesday that, more than the money, she hopes the situation is fixed so that it doesn’t happen to someone else.
“I think it will help the people believe that, despite the way I was handled, that they’ll be handled fair and righteous,” Calhoun said.
Elections board officials said that state law prohibits refunding her $450 qualifying fee.
But in a memo provided to commissioners Tuesday, City Attorney Nathan Davis recommended that the board consider repaying Calhoun the fee.
Click here to see the memo.