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Chatham Co. elections supervisor to retire at end of February

Russell Bridges
Russell Bridges(WTOC)
Updated: Jan. 29, 2021 at 2:35 PM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Chatham County Elections Supervisor Russell Bridges will be stepping down from the role at the end of February.

Bridges will be retiring. Billy Wooten will step in as interim supervisor.

It was announced during a special-called Chatham County Board of Elections meeting.

Board members and Bridges were in that executive session, which typically deals with personnel, real estate or litigation issues, for four hours. When they emerged, we learned Bridges is on his way to retirement, and an interim has been named.

In what was likely his most unique, challenging and at times uncertain elections season over his 16 years of service as elections supervisor, Bridges guided Chatham County’s elections processes through primaries, runoffs, recounts and a hotly contested general election.

Taking his place in the interim, the board unanimously named elections Recount Manager Billy Wooten to the role, who will step in the first of next month to begin the transition.

“The Chatham County Board of Elections extends our deep gratitude to Mr. Bridges for his tireless efforts and expert guidance in ensuring fair elections in compliance with state and federal elections law,” said Chairman Tom Mahoney.

“I want to thank y’all. It’s been a unique opportunity and it’s been an honor. And y’all have been a tremendous support. And we’ve had a heck of a year, and we built an amazing team of people here in the office who’ve really done the work and carried this,” said Bridges.

No mention was made of filling former board member Carry Smith’s seat, who replaced Debbie Rauers for about a week before stepping down from the position. On the topic of the Board of Elections, we spoke with Rep. Ron Stephens who told us possibly as early as next week, the local delegation could be introducing legislation that would combine the Elections Board and Board of Registrars here in Chatham County.

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