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Tuesday afternoon at 5 p.m., the Coffee County Board of Elections and Registration will discuss bringing in independent counsel to investigate the alleged election security breaches that took place in January of 2021 at the elections office. The board will also be introduced to its new attorney, which the county has retained since the last elections board meeting two weeks ago.
Since the last meeting, the elections office has moved; the building on Ashley Street is slated for demolition as a part of the upcoming courthouse annex construction project. However, this meeting will be held in the conference room of the Ashley Street building, located at 224 West Ashley Street.
The new attorney is Ben Perkins, a partner in the Savannah law firm of Oliver Maner LLP. The board had previously been represented by county attorney Tony Rowell. Though the county has retained a new firm to represent the board, Rowell will continue to serve as county attorney.
The primary items on the agenda will be a presentation from retired local attorney Jim Hudson. This will be the third consecutive meeting of the elections board in which Hudson has addressed the board. Prior to the regular June monthly meeting, Hudson had presented the board with a resolution asking for an investigation by independent counsel.
A the meeting, board member Ernestine Thomas-Clark made a motion to adopt Hudson’s resolution. However, the motion failed due to a lack of a second. The board then voted to table her recommendation for two weeks to review and consider the resolution. They planned to re-visit the issue at a special called meeting later in June. After Hudson speaks, the board will discuss and, presumably, vote on the resolution.
That special called meeting is tomorrow.
Tuesday’s meeting will be the first meeting in at least the last several months in which an attorney will be present. How the introduction of Perkins will affect what the board decides to do with Hudson’s resolution remains to be seen.