Menk Defeats Ward; Mullins, Dees Win Reelection
by Celia Shortt and Sarah Fay Campbell
With all precincts reporting early Wednesday morning, Linda Menk was elected to the District 4 seat on the Coweta County Board of Education, handily defeating incumbent Graylin Ward.
Incumbents Harry Mullins of District 3 and Amy Dees of District 1 easily defeated their challengers.
There were some issues with election night vote tallying, and vote totals from two voting machines in the Madras precinct, in District 3, had to be loaded manually. Final totals were posted just after midnight.
Menk took 57.89 percent of the vote, with 1,259 votes to Ward’s 916.
Mullins garnered 59.84 percent of the vote, with 1,432 votes, compared to 961 for Horne.
Dees had the largest margin, taking 68.07 percent of the vote, with 1,379 votes to Terrell’s 647.
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Editor's note: vote totals were slow coming in Tuesday night. What follows is Wednesday's print version of the election story.
The Coweta County Board of Education election was a local part of Tuesday’s Georgia state primary election.
As of 9:45 p.m. Tuesday, only 10 of 28 precincts in Coweta had posted their results.
For District 1 in eastern Coweta, with 1 of 6 precincts involved in the race reporting, incumbent candidate Amy Dees had 67 percent of the vote, and challenger Monica Terrell had 33 percent.
Incumbent Harry Mullins, of District 3 in northwestern Coweta, was in the lead with 69 percent of the votes and three of the districts’ precincts reporting. Jan Horne, his challenger, received 31 percent.
With three of the five precincts in District 4 in northeastern Coweta reporting, challenger Linda Menk was leading with 58 percent, and incumbent Graylin Ward was close behind with 41 percent.
The school board races are nonpartisan.
Other local non-partisan candidates were William G. “Bill” Hamrick, Coweta Superior Court judge; and Seay Van Patten Poulakos, State Court judge. Both Hamrick and Van Patten Poulakos were running without opposition.
A low voter turnout was anticipated for Tuesday’s primary elections both locally and statewide.
An issue with the treatment of a voter certificate Tuesday at the Smokey Road polling place has resulted in a complaint being filed with the Georgia Secretary of State's Office.
Rosalind Heard said the incident occurred when her son, who is special needs, was filling out his voter certificate and choosing between a Democrat or Republican ballot.
"He accidentally put for the status that he was a Republican, and he's a Democrat," Heard said. She said the poll workers said that was no problem and that it could be scratched out. "I said I think we should fill out another one," Heard said, but was told it was fine.
However, when her son was being checked in, another poll worker noticed the correction and said she had put him down as a Republican and that a new form needed to be filled out, according to Heard.
When they went back to the other table, the original poll worker ripped up the certificate and threw it in the trash, which is not legal.
Heard's son was then able to vote.
According to Coweta Elections Superintendent Jane Scoggins, Heard was told by the poll manager that she needed to fill out a form on the back of the voter certificate if she was going to assist her son with voting, but Heard would not. "She said she wasn't helping him," Scoggins said.
If a voter certificate is spoiled, the voter can keep it, but the poll workers cannot throw it away. Instead, it must be marked as spoiled and it goes into a folder and is eventually shredded, Scoggins said. Nothing with voter information is supposed to go in the trash.
The poll worker who threw it away is new and this was her first election, Scoggins said. "She was really sorry," Scoggins said.
The pieces of the certificate were taken out of the trash, wrapped up, and put in a folder, she said. Scoggins said the poll worker told her that she thought Heard and her son wanted the certificate to be torn up.
Around the same time, another woman, who has not been identified, took out a camera and began taking pictures. She was told to stop by the poll manager, Scoggins said. Because of state law changes made a few years ago, photography isn't allowed at polling places, except under special circumstances.
Heard said that, while the dispute about the voter certificate was going on, the unnamed woman started making comments that it didn't matter whether someone picked Democratic or Republican, since "they're all crooked."
Heard said she told the woman "this wasn't the place to discuss that."
"Somebody should have said something," Heard said. "But they are standing around, laughing at her comments."
Scoggins said that the elections office "asks that there be no talk about questions or candidates or ballots or anything in the polling place."
(Times-Herald staff writer Sarah Fay Campbell assisted with this report.)