Fayette County News

Fayette County


Board of Elections will decide format of special election to replace Commissioner Coston

The contentious question of how to conduct a special election to replace Commissioner Pota Coston will be determined next week by the Fayette County Board of Elections.
Fayette Newspapers reported this week on comments from County Administrator Steve Rapson that the county was leaning toward holding the special election under an at-large system, as opposed to the district voting system that Coston was elected under.
The county continues to contest the Fayette NAACP in court over district voting.
“Right now, because the district maps have been appealed, we’re assuming it would be an at-large election,” Rapson said Monday.
A decision had not been made by the commission at that point, though some speakers at Thursday’s meeting apparently believed it had been, based on the story.
As it turns out, a decision was not made by the county commission on Thursday either. The question of how to conduct the election will be answered by the three member board of elections, which is comprised of Darryl Hicks, Addison Lester, and Chairman Marilyn Watts.
County Administrator Charles Oddo would not comment on what was discussed regarding the special election during the closed meeting Thursday night. “Because of the litigation situation here, we had to discuss this in private. We had our attorneys and our attorneys were helping us understand this decision,” Oddo said.
He said the commission members “are not sure yet” on this issue.
“We’re aware of the interest and passion about this, and the board as a group is trying very hard to do the right thing,” Oddo said.
Oddo said the election board is charged with determining the law, which “of course they do in consultation” with county attorneys and with the board of commissioners.
“I can only speak for myself. The commissioners, from my standpoint, need to be sure whatever process we follow is a legal process, and, that wherever we end in this entire situation, that we have resolved the issue. Whether or not we like the answer, we need to resolve the issue and there will no looking back. But we’re not at that point yet,” Oddo said.
The board of elections will meet Tuesday night at 5 p.m. in the commission chambers.
Tom Sawyer, Department Head for the Fayette County Board of Elections, could not comment on the matter beyond confirming the time of the meeting. Rapson said Monday that a likely date for a special election would be September 15, but Sawyer could not comment on this.

By Josh Akeman

Josh Akeman is the managing editor of the Fayette County News, Today in Peachtree City, and East Coweta Journal. He is a graduate of Fayette County High School and the University of Georgia.