Statement from County of Smith Commissioners Court - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Statement from County of Smith Commissioners Court

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From the County of Smith Commissioners Court:

The alcohol petition for Justice of the Peace, Pct. 2 was verified on Tuesday, July 31, 2012. The Elections laws require that the voter registrar, which is the Elections Administrator in Smith County, check and verify the petition within certain deadlines and that the governing body order the election if the petition meets the minimum threshold requirements. Smith County Elections Administrator, Karen Nelson consulted with the Secretary of State's Office to confirm that the calculation methods for the mandatory number of signatures is correct. The requirements do not require absolute perfection, but in fact, allow for some discretion to estimate a range and waive defects of a limited nature. Nevertheless, the Elections Administrator reviews all of the data and uses the highest number required so that there is adequate confirmation that the alcohol petition meets the requirements. The number of signatures required is based on 35 percent of the votes cast in JP, Pct. 2 during the 2010 gubernatorial election after excluding "Suspension List" voters. These results were announced and reviewed in commissioners court.

As with any tabulation of elections data, it is inevitable that there may be slight variations of percentages or perceived ineligible voters who signed the petition. For example, the existence of a changed address may merely mean that someone moved, but this does not render the voter ineligible to sign the petition. Also, the following factors might affect the target number of signatures:

  • Redistricting and minor changes to boundary lines after the 2010 election year;
  • "Split" voting precincts that overlap where city limits end and JP boundaries begin; and
  • Timing of running voter registration list since these lists change daily (address changes, corrections, deaths, moved out of county, mentally incompetent, new applications, etc.).

Any confirmed instances of ineligible voters were not considered in the final tabulation of verified signatures. The Commissioners Court merely places the proposition on the ballot and does not opine on the merits of alcohol sales. The matter is now before the voters and elections procedures were properly followed.

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