New Gwinnett elections board member resigns

The newest member of the Gwinnett elections board, Santiago Marquez, resigned shortly after being appointed. At a meeting earlier this week, Republican and Democratic board members weren’t sure if they could agree on a new nonpartisan appointee.

Marquez, who is the CEO of the Latin American Association, said Friday he stepped down after realizing the amount of work that came with service on the board. He has an 18-year-old daughter who will be going to college out of state next year, and a father with dementia who requires care, Marquez said.

Paired with the demands of his day job, he said he couldn’t devote enough attention to the elections board.

“They deserve better than somebody who has so many obligations,” he said. “They need somebody who is going to give them undivided attention.”

Marquez, who was chosen in part to give more representation to Hispanic residents, said he thinks “it’s critical” that there be Latino representation on the elections board. Gwinnett is the only county in the state that’s required by federal law to have its election materials printed in Spanish as well as English because of the number of Spanish-speakers in the county.

“Representation is important,” Marquez said, adding that he thinks more Latinos should be running for office in the county.

At a Wednesday meeting, the Republican and Democratic board members weren’t sure if they could agree on a replacement — though they discussed appointing Anthony Rodriguez, co-founder of the Aurora Theater.

Stephen Day, a Democratic appointee, said Rodriguez’s politics were similar to Marquez’s and he was “well-known and well thought-of.”

“He’s a good middle of the road fifth member,” Day said. “I think he would be a tremendous plus for the board.”

Alice O’Lenick, the chair of the elections board and a Republican appointee, said she would put Rodriguez’s name to the Republican party’s executive committee to see if they would support him.

If the four members can’t agree, the appointment would go to a county judge. Marquez was appointed by a judge after the party appointees failed to reach an agreement earlier.