Latimore Recognized Prior to Commissioner Vote Against Democratic Nominee for Board of Elections Rhonda Reddick

Published 10:00 am Thursday, January 11, 2024

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The Commissioners meeting on January 9th was well attended, with the District Chair of the Democratic Party Will Davis, the Chair of the Sumter County Democratic Committee, and the President of the NAACP in attendance, each concerned with the appointment to the Democratic seat on the Board of Elections.

Prior to the vote on the expired seat, Commissioner Clay Jones presented Dr. Shirley Latimore, the Chair of the Elections Board, with an award from the Secretary of State.

Jones mentioned the resignation of the elections supervisor 12 days before the elections, with staff walking out shortly after.

“She stepped up, her and her Board, and they did a phenomenal job pulling the elections for Leslie and Andersonville. And for that, the Secretary of State sent her a letter and an award.”

Jones presented the framed award from Brad Raffensperger, Secretary of State, declaring her an outstanding Georgia Citizen. Latimore gave a brief speech.

“It is an honor to receive this recognition. As stated previously, it was not me by myself that did this. The Board of Elections stepped up, we had volunteers that came in, two ladies in the office, they came in, and also as well surrounding Counties that said, ‘anything that you need’ and of course the Secretary of State’s office stayed in constant contact.

I appreciate that people stepped up, assisted, and helped through this time. And I have told the Board Members before that we need to make sure that we are trained, that we are certified, and be prepared, because it may come a time that we might have to get in there and help run an election, and I didn’t think that it would come this soon.”

Latimore concluded with the following comment.

“We are going to follow codes, and we are going to be in compliance.”

Argo addressed the Board.

“I’m chair of the Sumter Democratic Committee, and I would like it to be a matter of public record that the Sumter Democratic Committee has submitted two worthy nominees for appointment to the Board of Elections and Registration, or the BOER, Mrs. Rhonda Reddick and Mr. Eugene Edge. Mrs. Reddick is our prior appointee, and her service on the BOER has been exemplary. Taxpayer dollars paid for her recent certification from the Georgia Association of Voters, Registrars, and Elected Officials, and on July 19th, 2021, she received a Georgia Election Official Certification, signed by Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. We request that she be reappointed to a second term.

Mr. Eugene is a hardworking, highly respected life-long resident of Sumter County, with a long record of service to his community. He is our second nominee.”

One of the agenda items referenced after Argo’s address was a discussion of a proposal to amend resolution 2019-083, which governs the Board of Elections. Commissioner Jim Reid asked that the discussion be delayed.

After executive session the Board voted on whether to reappoint Rhonda Reddick to a seat as the Democratic nominee on the Board of Elections. Commissioners Jessie Smith and Clay Jones voted to reappoint Rhonda Reddick, with Commissioners David Baldwin, Ried, and Chair Mark Waddell voting against her reappointment.

Jones questioned what else the Democratic Party needed to do. Waddell commented that they needed to submit new nominations.

Smith questioned Waddell about the need to provide further nominations.

“So, why are we doing this?”

Jones also commented.

“If they bid two more, you are going to turn them down, until you get to the point where you all can pick the next one.”

Smith commented that there was nothing said to disqualify Reddick.

Jones asked for the reason she was disqualified.

Waddell responded.

“I don’t have to have a reason.”

Smith commented.

“We were good with Randy Howard.”

Baldwin responded.

“No you weren’t. You voted against him.”

Smith clarified, stated that they were good with Howard despite “bailing out” on the County.

Afterward, the Board adjourned.

For other pressing matters including road conditions and public transport, see the second upcoming article on the January 9th Commissioners meeting.