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Elections board OK with expansion plan
Measure proposes adding two members
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Forsyth County News

The Forsyth County Board of Elections has given its support to a plan for expanding the panel by two members.

During a special called meeting Tuesday, the current three-member board voted unanimously on a resolution to support a bill in the 2014 Georgia General Assembly that would add to it an additional local Democrat and Republican.

The move, officials have said, would guarantee fair representation if a member from one of the two parties were to miss a meeting.

“The consensus was that they didn’t know if it was completely necessary, because we haven’t had any problems in the past, but we are looking toward the future,” said Barbara Luth, elections supervisor.

District 24 state Rep. Mark Hamilton has authored the measure, which he plans to introduce soon in the state House of Representatives. If the bill is successful, the respective local parties would each appoint another member in September 2015.

From there, one Republican and one Democrat would come up for a new four-year term at the same time. The board chair will continue to be appointed by a Superior Court judge.

In addition to the two new appointees, the measure would also simplify the payment system, Hamilton said.

“We’ve done this with the school board, board of commissioners, planning commissioners,” he said. “… Instead of worrying about their meetings, they just get paid a monthly amount to make it simple, easy and [that] reduces concerns for reporting.”

Hamilton said the new rate of $200 per month works out to be about what board members currently receive, particularly during busy election years.

With the election board behind it, Hamilton said the common-sense measure should have the support of Forsyth’s state delegates and the full legislature.

“Showing their support for it makes it a lot easier,” Hamilton said. “I personally think it’s a good policy, but I’m very happy to know that once I sat down and explained to them what we were trying to do, they saw it was a good policy too.”