Elections board disqualifies two candidates in rare decision - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Elections board disqualifies two candidates in rare decision

(Source: WTVM) (Source: WTVM)

A technicality has kicked two candidates off the ballot in the race to the Muscogee County Sheriff's office this May...at least for now.

Candidates being disqualified from the ballot isn't something that happens often says Nancy Boren, Director at the Muscogee County Elections Office. Boren says during the past few decades of her involvement in local elections, she can only remember this happening a handful of times, maybe even less than five.

On Thursday the board of elections in Columbus voted to disqualify sheriff hopefuls Pamela Brown and Robert Smith from the upcoming May election.

"We have a lot of problems right now in the Sheriff's office, and when you look at the budget, you look at the jail as well as the community," said Smith at the start of his campaign, which is one that may have ended as quickly as it began.

For Brown, running for the office was a shot at redemption after losing the sheriff's election in 2012 by less than 100 votes.

"I feel like this time I have a better chance because a lot of the people that did not vote for me before, have come forth and told me they didn't vote for me but they are supporting me this go round," said Brown at her campaign kickoff, however now her and Smith are off the ballot for now.

The Muscogee elections board made the rare call to disqualify her and Brown over fingerprints, which is a requirement that was not allegedly met in time for Brown and Smith.

"Those deadlines are hard and fast," said Boren, "One of the candidates said that when they ran in 2012 they had their fingerprints on file and assumed that those finger prints would suffice for the requirement of 2016."

Election officials say those prints needed to be taken again and screened again.

"The board's decision can be appealed to a Superior Court judge, and both candidates said they will appeal that decision," said Boren.

We reached out to both Brown and Smith and we will bring you any comments they have to offer. Voter registration for the May 24th elections is now open.

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