Applications open for seat on DeKalb County elections board

Nov 13, 2018 Decatur: Samuel Tillman is the first to sign his name after the DeKalb County Elections Board voted unanimously to certify it's election results at the DeKalb County Elections office on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018, in Decatur.  Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com
Nov 13, 2018 Decatur: Samuel Tillman is the first to sign his name after the DeKalb County Elections Board voted unanimously to certify it's election results at the DeKalb County Elections office on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018, in Decatur. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: ccompton@ajc.com

Applications are now being accepted for the lone seat on the DeKalb County elections board that’s not appointed by a local political party.

Any registered DeKalb voter is eligible to apply for the position, which is currently occupied by board chairman Samuel Tillman.

Tillman did not respond to multiple inquiries this week about his plans for the future; it was unclear if he would seek for another term.

By law, DeKalb Superior Court Chief Judge Asha Jackson will select the next person to hold the position. Applications can be submitted via email to kjmartin@dekalbcountyga.gov until 5 p.m. on May 14.

Those interested should submit a resume; a letter of interest that includes any relevant election work and experience; a list of up to three references; up to three letters of recommendation; and details about “any customer service and logistical coordination experience.”

Find more information here.

Tillman was one of the DeKalb Democrats’ two appointees to the elections board for more than 20 years before the party chose not to reappoint him in 2019. But Tillman subsequently secured the board’s at-large seat — because he was reportedly the only person to submit an application for the opening.

The open seat is not a direct path to the board’s chairmanship, but Tillman later secured the role with a 3-2 vote of his colleagues. The board’s two Republican members voted in his favor.

Since then, Tillman has frequently clashed with fellow board members and other DeKalb County officials. He drew fire during last year’s never-ending — and sometimes rocky — election cycle. Colleagues accused him of exercising undue influence on day-to-day operations at the elections office and criticized him for hesitating to accept help from outside entities like the National Vote at Home Institute and the American Civil Liberties Union.

In October, just three weeks before a high-stakes presidential election, DeKalb Dems chair John Jackson called for Tillman and county elections director Erica Hamilton to resign.

The current terms of all five elections board members expire June 30.

The local Democratic party is expected to stick with its current pair of representatives, Susan Motter and Dele Lowman Smith.

The Republicans could be a different story.

The DeKalb GOP recently censured elections board vice chair Baoky Vu, who signed onto the board’s February joint statement decrying “harmful” voting legislation then under consideration by the General Assembly. Vu has also criticized baseless claims of widespread voter fraud in the November election and, in a statement reacting to his censure, referred to ex-President Donald Trump as a “tax-cheating, draft-dodging RINO” — a “Republican in name only.”

The censure called on Vu to resign.

New DeKalb GOP chair Marci McCarthy said Wednesday that local party leaders had not yet met to discuss “nominations or reappointments” to the elections board.

She did, however, issue a lengthy statement regarding Vu, describing him as “the sole Republican who stood with the DeKalb Democrats against [Senate Bill 202], enabling them to call their anti-election integrity proclamation bi-partisan.”

McCarthy said the county party was also encouraging people who would “enforce the Election Integrity Act of 2021″ to apply for the seat currently occupied by Tillman.

DeKalb County is one of the deepest troves of Democratic votes in Georgia and played a significant role in flipping Georgia blue during last November’s presidential election and January’s pair of U.S. Senate runoffs.

In all three races, about 83% of DeKalb residents who voted cast their ballots for Democrats.

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