ALBANY, Ga. — An official with the Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s office says it’s up to the counties when they decide to begin reporting election results to the public, disputing an interpretation of a memo made by the Dougherty County Elections Office this week.
Secretary of state spokesman Chris Perlera said that a memo issued from the secretary’s elections office to county elections officials discussing write-in protocols was meant to be interpreted as saying that elections officials must wait until all touchscreen ballots and mailed-out bailouts are in and tabulated before they can be certified and sent to the state — a process that will take until Nov. 9.
“Just because a county registrar can’t certify (the votes) doesn’t prevent them from giving out any write-in totals as they’re getting them,” Perlera said. “I think the language is pretty clear, but the bottom line is that they won’t have accurate totals until all of the votes are counted.”
Earlier this week, Dougherty elections officials said that the memo in question led them to believe that write-in voting results couldn’t be tabulated or compiled until both the touchscreen results and the results of the mail-out ballots could be compiled. And since the mail-out ballots are given until the Friday after the Nov. 6 election to be received by the office, that would be the day they said they would release the vote totals.
Dougherty County Elections Supervisor Ginger Nickerson said, after hearing Perlera’s statement, that the Elections Board would ultimately have to decide on when to release the voting totals.
Lane Price, the Democratic Party nominee, and Lorenzo Heard, a write-in candidate, are campaigning to see who will be the at-large representative to the Dougherty County School Board in January.
Price won the July Democratic Primary against incumbent Anita Williams-Brown and Heard has been verified as an official write-in candidate for the race. There is no Republican running for the post.