03/19/2019 -- Lilburn, Georgia -- A Gwinnett County poll worker hands a voter a sticker after casting their ballot during the Gwinnett County MARTA referendum special election at the Mountain Park Aquatic Center and Activity Building in Lilburn, Tuesday, March 19, 2019. (ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)
Photo: Alyssa Pointer
Photo: Alyssa Pointer

Dozens apply to run Gwinnett County elections

The two additional weeks added to Gwinnett’s search for a new elections supervisor netted a few new applicants for the high-profile position.

Seven of them, to be exact. 

The application period for Gwinnett’s next elections supervisor was quietly opened in late March, shortly after the county’s Board of Registration and Elections was notified that longtime supervisor Lynn Ledford would be promoted to a new position. The board, which is tasked with hiring Ledford’s replacement, extended the application period amid pressure from voting advocates and Democrats who thought the process had not been transparent or thorough enough. 

The extended period ended at midnight Tuesday.

Elections board chairman John Mangano said seven new applications were received during the additional two weeks, bringing the overall total to around 50. 

MORE: Gwinnett elections board members say they’re not racist

Mangano said the goal is to identify a replacement for Ledford — who has been elections supervisor since 2002 — by Labor Day. The board is scheduled to hold a special called meeting at 5 p.m. Monday to discuss candidates and how to proceed.

The search has recently garnered extra attention following allegations that Facebook posts written by the elections board’s two Republican members — Alice O’Lenick and Ben Satterfield — were racist.

But it was already in the spotlight due to Gwinnett’s rapidly changing politics and recent allegations of voter suppression

Gwinnett became the epicenter of Georgia’s larger voting rights debate during November’s contentious election season, thanks in part to media reports that elections officials had rejected a disproportionate number of absentee by mail ballots

A number of lawsuits followed. 

Ledford, who became a lightning rod in her own right for voter rights advocates, has maintained the county did nothing unusual and was operating under its long-standing interpretation of Georgia’s elections laws.

Ledford’s new position is aimed at allowing her to focus on bigger picture projects, including helping with technological and procedural changes mandated by the state legislature ahead of the 2020 election. She will also help with her replacement’s transition. 

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