Plains Mayoral Candidate Joey Recker Challenges Ex-Wife’s Residency and Howard responds to Coley Conflict

Published 10:02 am Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Latimore mentioned a complaint challenging the address of an elector. “Documents were provided by both parties, as well as conversations with both. The elections office researched more information on JARVIS about voting history and the address of the elector in question. In doing so, we talked with the elector in question, and we gave her a change of address and it was explained to the elector that the elector would not be able to vote for the main primary non-partisan election due to the fact that the late date, the last date to register or to change your address for the upcoming election was April 22nd, and she failed to change that particular address.”

Plains mayoral candidate Joey Recker addressed the Board. “I’m Joey Recker, and I filed that complaint. Thank you for taking that action.”
He mentioned the duration of the issue, stating he believed the driver’s license was unchanged. “I guess my biggest thing is, she has voted in three or four previous elections, and she was able to do so because she never changed her driver’s license.”

Recker continued. “Full disclosure, it’s my ex-wife. As a mayoral candidate I requested the voter records from the Secretary of State and she and I, my current wife, are the only two that live in the home obviously. My ex-wife and I divorced in 2019. But when I looked at the voter records there’s three people at my house voting with consistent voting records and that’s when, not knowing what to do, I went to the Secretary of State website and clicked the button and that’s what put us here.”

County attorney Hayden Hooks commented. “The laws for determining residency, there’s several factors that are considered, not just one. I just want to make sure that the individual being challenged had an opportunity to be heard on this issue.”

Latimore responded: “As I stated earlier, that we had talked with both individuals about it and we’ve gotten things notarized, submitted, certified. We’ve gone through the process with both individuals.”
When asked, Latimore gave April 22, 2024 as the last day to register/change an address for an upcoming election, referencing O.C.G.A. 21-2-224(a) and 21-2-218.

When contacted, Sonya Wise Recker declined further comment, citing a notarized letter she had submitted to the County.

It was brought to the attention of the ATR by Thomas R. McFarland that Velma Coley served on the Andersonville City Council while working in County elections. When asked if she was aware that according to Georgia statute 22-2-92, poll workers are not supposed to hold public office, she responded: “We were not aware of it, there was nothing said about it, after twenty years it just came up. We were not aware of it.”

When asked if there was controversy surrounding her working in elections and serving on the Council, she replied: “No controversy whatsoever. The only time they got controversy was this year. There was nothing said about it. Now I worked in the election office over twenty years, and I worked as a poll worker about twenty years, and there was nothing brought up about it until this year.”

When asked if that was the reason she quit, she replied: “Well, that’s one of the reasons. But now our lawyer went to the State and they said that I could work in the office. I could not do poll working. I worked at the airport, and it was said that I could work in the office. I could work in the office, but I could not do the poll working or either being a manager.”
Coley commented on the code. “As far as bringing up the code, that was just brought up recently, and it went to the State. Our lawyer went and found it out. But it was agreed that I could work in the office.”

When asked if she had worked in elections involving Cities, she replied: “I was the manager at the airport. Before then, before I got to be the manager, I was working as a poll worker. I did early voting and everything.”
When asked if that included Andersonville, she replied: “That include everything. That include all the elections. The early voting included all the elections. I never worked at the so-to-speak election office here in Andersonville. I never worked here. I always worked at the airport.”
When asked if she had anything else to share with readers, she replied: “It was just time for me to leave. I figured it was. I didn’t want to cause no problems or nothing like that. I want it to be as smooth as possible, I want everything to go right. If I was going to be working, and it was going to cause problems, I prefer not to do it, because I want Sumter County to be alright. We don’t need no distractions or what have you.”

Howard, former elections supervisor, commented on Coley holding office and working in elections: “It’s not a conflict, according to the Secretary of State, see because she wasn’t running for election.”

When asked whether code permitted someone to work as a poll worker and hold elected office, he replied: “She was working in the office, she didn’t work the polls.” He mentioned that: “She was a poll manager years ago.”

Howard mentioned restrictions during her employment: “If the City of Andersonville has elections, then she can’t work.” He stated that “only time she’s ever worked is when there was nothing going on in Andersonville.”