House Bill 944, sponsored by District 66 state Rep Kimberly Alexander, D-Douglasville, would change the composition of the Douglas County Election Board to two Democrats appointed by the county Democratic party; two Republicans appointed by the county GOP, and the fifth member appointed by the Douglas County Board of Commissioners.
Following it being signed into law by the governor, the bill takes effect on Jan. 1, 2015.
The bill failed to pass both houses in 2013 but Alexander revised the bill this session which, she said, gave it new momentum.
The elections board oversees Douglas County elections and qualification of candidates, among other duties.
At present, the Douglas County Elections Board includes one Democrat and three Republicans. The fifth board member is appointed by the Douglas County Commission.
In addition to wanting the elections board to be more balanced in representation, Alexander said she believes reorganizing the board would help stop lawsuits and other problems which have plagued the board in recent years.
For instance, in 2009, the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office of Inspector General received a complaint against the Douglas County Board of Elections regarding the Nov. 4, 2008, general election.
The complaint listed a number of alleged violations, ranging from unauthorized possession of voting machine keys by election officials, to improper delivery, sealing and securing of voting machines.
Alexander also said she believed the board should be reorganized so it would better reflect the changing demographics of Douglas County.
David Good, chairman of the Douglas County Democratic Party, agreed and said Alexander’s bill would allow fairer and more balanced representation on the election board.
“This is a very good bill,” he said.
“It would allow the board to be less one-sided and, I feel, Douglas County residents would feel that the discussions on the board would be more fair and balanced and thereby allowing more constructive, useful and beneficial discussion.”
Alexander also referred to her bill as a “transparency piece.”
“By bringing more balance to the elections board, it would make sure that everyone is more fairly represented,” she said.
Alexander also received a letter of support for the bill from the Douglas County Board of Commissioners, which opposed the 2013 legislation.