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Rockdale County Chief Superior Court Judge David Irwin

CONYERS — Rockdale County residents who are registered voters can apply through Aug. 9 to be the non-partisan at-large member and chair of the Rockdale County Board of Elections and Voter Registration. The two-year appointment will be made by Chief Superior Court Judge David B. Irwin after he interviews the candidates.

The three-member Board of Elections is made up of one representative each from the local Democrat and Republican parties, and one at-large member who is normally chosen by the representatives. The at-large member also serves as the chair of the board.

This will be the third time in 12 years that a judge has had to step in to resolve a squabble over the at-large member. In 2011, Judge Sidney Nation removed the two partisan members of the board for after he said both political parties “misbehaved” trying to gain political power. Two new board members took nominations and in January 2012 appointed former State Court Judge William Todd as the at-large member. In 2015, Judge Irwin appointed Rev. Aldren Sadler Sr. as the at-large member after the partisan members could not agree on reappointing Todd.

Sadler was reappointed by the board members in 2017, but his current term ended June 30. When it came time in June to appoint the at-large member for the term from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2021, board members Karen James and Gerald Barger were unable to agree on a nomination. James wanted to reappoint Sadler again, but Barger would not second the motion. Barger wanted to seek other nominees from the community, but James would not second his motion.

Elections Supervisor Cynthia Willingham advised the board that if they did not select the at-large member, then in 30 days, Judge Irwin would make the decision. She added that each of the two board members could make two nominations to the judge, and he could either accept one of the nominations, or select someone else.

The 30-day period has passed and Judge Irwin has agreed to open the nomination process to anyone who is:

♦ A registered voter in Rockdale County.

♦ A resident of Rockdale County.

♦ Shall not hold or be a candidate for any elective office in any level of government during their term on the board.

♦ Shall not serve as treasurer or campaign manager for any candidate for elective office.

♦ As chair, not hold any level office in a political party.

Board member responsibilities include the oversight of County elections, discussion of and decisions pertaining to election policies and ongoing communication with the public. Board members are not involved in the day-to-day operations of the Elections Office or in administrative decisions. Georgia Election Code 21-2-70 provides for the powers and duties of the Board of Elections and Registration.

Application packets are available on the Board of Elections and Voter Registration web page or in person at the Board of Elections and Voter Registration Office, 1261 Commercial Drive SW, Suite B, Conyers, GA 30094.

The deadline to apply is Aug. 9. To complete an application online for the board seat, visit www.rockdalecountyga.gov and look for the link on the “Board of Elections & Voter Registration” page under the County Departments menu.

For questions, contact Cynthia Willingham at 770-278-7333 or cynthia.willingham@rockdalecountyga.gov.

Senior Reporter

Born and raised in Decatur, Ga. Graduated from Shorter College in Rome, Ga. in 1979 with B.A. in Communications. Worked in community newspapers for 26 years. Started at Rockdale Citizen/Newton Citizen in January 2016.

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