Elections board

The Spalding County Board of Elections and Registration unanimously approved a motion to send the ballot language for a Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax to be placed on a Nov. 2 ballot.

The unanimous vote was made Tuesday during an emergency meeting of the board.

Spalding County Manager William Wilson Jr. told board members that the T-SPLOST’s ballot language has to be sent to ballot builders at Kennesaw State University by Aug. 2.

According to County Attorney Stephanie Windham, both Spalding County commissioners and city of Griffin commissioners have agreed to place a T-SPLOST referendum on the Nov. 2 ballot and an intergovernmental agreement has been signed.

Both the city and county have also agreed to the split of the proceeds if the T-SPLOST is approved, with Spalding County receiving 65% of the funds and the city of Griffin receiving 35%.

Funds for the Nov. 2 election were included in the county’s budget for the 2021-2022 fiscal year, which begins July 1, Wilson added.

Tuesday’s meeting was also the first meeting that included the three new board members. Alfred Jester replaced Glenda Henley, and Jim O’Brien replaced Margaret Bentley. Henley and Bentley resigned in April.

“I promise the citizens I will always do my best for everybody,” Jester said, adding that his hope is for the board to work together for the betterment of the community.

O’Brien said it was an honor to be appointed to serve the citizens of Spalding County.

“We want fair and just elections, but we have challenges ahead of us,” O’Brien said, referring to Senate Bill 202 and House Bill 769.

HB 769, which went into effect April 13, required the immediate termination of the Board of Elections member who had been approved by the other four board members. That member was Vera McIntosh.

The bill also called for a fifth board member to be selected and appointed by a majority vote of the Spalding County Superior Court judges.

The fifth member is James D. Newland.

“I promised to obey the laws pertaining to elections,” Newland said. “I have no other agenda.”

The other Board of Elections members are interim Chairwoman Betty Bryant and Roy McClain.