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Elections Board recommends elections director

By Billy Corriher

The Clayton County Board of Commissioners will vote on a recommendation from the board of elections and registration that Annie Bright be installed as the county's first elections director.

The board chose Bright from over 20 applicants at its Dec. 29 meeting, but declined to release their decision until the commissioners had a chance to consider it. The commissioners will discuss the board's suggestion in executive session at its meeting tonight at 7.

Bright has worked in the county's elections and registration office for eight years. Since the retirement last year of Probate Judge Eugene Lawson, who used to oversee the county's elections, Bright has supervised elections in the county, working with poll coordinators and organizing training sessions for poll workers.

"I appreciate the nomination from the board, and the confidence they have in me," she said. "It is gratifying that the board selected me as their nominee."

Bright did not want to comment further until the commissioners make a decision.

Chairman Crandle Bray said the commissioners want to ensure an elections director is in place when the presidential preference primary is held in March.

"Our real concern is that we have an election coming up," he said. "We're really concerned that the election board keep everything on track."

Board member George Sligh said he advocated installing the board's interim elections director, Sonja Casey, as the permanent director, but Bright was his second choice.

"They were the only ones with any real experience with elections," he said.

Chairwoman Roberta Abdul-Salaam said Bright's experience with county elections was important but was not the deciding factor.

Experience "was not uppermost in my mind," she said, adding that the ability to work with the community was important to her. "We're trying to do what's good for the county and have a smooth transition."

After each board member revealed his or her preferred candidate, the board discussed their options and then unanimously voted for Bright, members said.

Board member Bob Bolia said he supported either Bright or Casey because of their experience in the county.

"(Bright) and Casey were the two that were most familiar with the county's elections," he said, adding that he believed the commissioners would support Bright.

Casey did not want to comment on the board's decision until the commissioners decide who to select.