Board of Elections Debates Appropriateness of Facebook Graphic

Published 3:25 pm Thursday, May 9, 2024

The Board of Elections met at 4:30 p.m. on May 7th in the Commissioner’s meeting room. May 10th was given as the deadline for absentee ballots.

Board member Carson Walker made a motion to amend the minutes of the previous meeting, commenting on poll worker training: “There was one thing that was left out that needed to be added under board member remarks, myself and Mr. Howard had asked about being informed of future training activity. We were wanting to be informed when we were going to be having some training so that we would have the opportunity to attend.”

Board member Dr. Valerie Roberts asked if board member’s remarks needed to be included in the minutes. County attorney Hayden Hooks responded that verbatim repetition was not necessary, stating “Who said it and what they topic was.”

Roberts responded that she had asked for clarification since “there is no action or anything, those are just comments that were made.” Hooks responded that it was an agenda item: “I would think you would want some sort of report.”
Roberts responded: “Well a general comment as you stated earlier would suffice.”

Hooks commented: “The board has adopted Robert’s rules of order, I believe, and Robert’s rules of order says that the minutes must include summaries of reports from officers.”
Robert commented on Robert’s rule of order: “A report is different than just a remark.”
Walker commented, mentioning a desire to attend poll worker training. “We were not invited or informed when the poll training was.”

Latimore proposed that future board members comments not be reflected in the minutes. Walker responded: “We are voting on the minutes for the last meeting. This proposal that you are making right now would be for future meetings.”
Roberts agreed. “I think just go ahead and put that general statement that attorney Hooks said and let’s just move on.”
The motion passed with the additional statement, with all in favor.

Walker addressed the Board: ”In viewing the Board of Elections Facebook page for the first time, I did not feel comfortable with the message of the clenched fist incorporated for our board identity.” He questioned Latimore on the choice, calling it a “protest sign” stating she responded “that it meant fight to vote.”
The graphic includes raised hands, some clinched as fists and others making peace signs. Walker continued: “Did any board member see this logo before it was added to the Facebook page? No.”

Roberts commented on material put on the site, asking if the board had ever voted for previous additions.
Walker continued to stress concerns. “This past week I saw the clinched fist on a red and yellow flag that was going up at a University, and I just don’t think we need to have something volatile like this as part of our logo, and just stick with our logo that the county’s using.”

Chair of the board of elections, Dr. Shirley Latimore, responded. “We want people motivated to say, ‘we gonna get out and we going to vote.’ That was the purpose of that.”

Latimore clarified that it was an image and not a logo. “It was done to get started with our Facebook page.”

County attorney Hayden Hooks responded. “But I think its important using an image that is viewpoint neutral, because it is government speech.”

Randy Howard asked for the issue to be tabled until next month. Dr. Shirley Green-Reese, recently appointed, had not yet taken her place on the Board. Roberts commented. “I would not vote for this.”

Latimore stressed the need to reach out to new media: “We are trying to branch out and reach as many people as possible.” She emphasized this was an early attempt.

Walker made a final remark. “At our training, twelve hour training up in Athens, something I’ve never seen, we had Homeland Security, we had the GDI, and we’ve had the FBI that gave talks on violence expected during the upcoming election.”

Walker supported tabling the issue, but wanted the issue addressed. He made a motion to table the issue, which was seconded by Howard. Roberts and Latimore voted against tabling the issue, causing the motion to fail.

Latimore declared the meeting adjourned. Hooks stated a vote was necessary to adjourn the meeting. Latimore commented. “We don’t have to have a vote.”

Howard commented. “Yes we do.”

Walker moved to adjourn the meeting. Howard commented “I did not second.”

Latimore spoke. “The meeting is adjourned.”

When asked about the logo, Roberts stated her focus was on more substantial issues, saying she was “interested in making sure citizens have fair, transparent elections.”

Walker attended a Confederate Memorial service on April 27th. When asked for his reason for attending, he replied: “Well, I’d rather not talk about it. It’s kind of political. We do everything kind of neutral here.”

For other details discussed during the meeting, see the companion piece titled Plains Mayoral Candidate Joey Recker Challenges Ex-Wife’s Residency and Howard responds to Coley Interview.