Chatham Co. BOE meets to discuss allegations against former board member, runoff election results

Chatham Co. BOE meets to discuss allegations against former board member, runoff election results

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - At Monday night’s Chatham County Board of Elections meeting, board members discussed initiating an investigation into allegations made against a former board member just last week.

Chairman Tom Mahoney addressed the members Monday evening about misconduct allegations made against Debbie Rauers. She announced her resignation last week. The board made a motion to send the resignation to Governor Kemp in order to initiate the process to appoint a replacement.

The board is balanced by party affiliation, so the board would look to fill Rauers’ seat with another Republican.

Also during that meeting, the board talked about last week’s senate runoff. The county is still certifying the vote. They have until Friday to meet the state’s deadline.

While certifying the senate runoff results is still in progress, the board wanted to address some things they hope to do a better job with moving forward to future elections.

“We had a great election,” said Elections Supervisor Russell Bridges.

Overall, board members on the Chatham County Board of Elections say they were satisfied with how the different tasks for the senate runoff were accomplished. Russell Bridges, the Elections Supervisor broke down the numbers and compared voter turnout from the presidential election to the senate runoff.

“Although November 3 was higher in both early voting and absentee, it was much less in the in person.”

Bridges says, nearly 8,000 more people voted in person on Election Day for the runoff than on November 3. Bridges says more than 45,000 people voted on Election Day for the runoff.

Bridges went on to break down more numbers as it relates to absentee voting for the runoff.

“The registrar issued just over 45,000 absentee ballots and we have reported about 36,500 that we have processed.”

Board members say votes haven’t been certified yet. Bridges says they have already processed and balanced the in person and early voting ballots, but they’re still reviewing and balancing the provisional and absentee numbers.

“That’s probably the one area we’ve had the most interesting year with.”

Board members heavily discussed the issue they faced with poll watchers. Members say this is because they’re not properly trained and they hope to focus on this moving forward.

“We really do want that function to be carried out. That transparency to be carried out in a helpful way. I think that that’s something that we can work with the parties to provide that kind of training,” said Chairman Tom Mahoney.

The board also wants to educate the public so that people can have more confidence in the system and better understand the counting process.

“We have to do a better job educating people on what that process looks like. It’s not just a matter of collecting numbers, counting ballots and saying ‘this person won,” said Member Malinda Hodge.

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