Brooks Co. school board candidates back on ballot -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Brooks Co. school board candidates back on ballot

By Jade Bulecza - bio | email

BROOKS COUNTY, GA (WALB) –Two Brooks County school board members who lost their races in July are back on the ballot for November.

They suspect there was voter fraud in the primaries. Here's what they did.

They actually swapped races and qualified as write-in candidates.

Their opponents who beat them in July didn't like that.

They filed a legal challenge to keep the write-ins off the ballot.

A voter casts her ballot in Brooks County. It's been a long road for election workers and candidates in this extremely heated election season where incumbents lost after an unusually high number of absentee ballots were counted in the primaries.

"We were not happy with the turn out with the July primary and evidently they are not happy with us running as write in candidates," said Brooks County School Board At Large candidate Myra Exum.

After losing their school board races in July, Myra Exum and Gary Rentz swapped races and filed paperwork to run as write-in candidates. Linda Troutman, who's running for district four, told us over the phone she has no problem with them running, but she and at-large candidate Elizabeth Thomas filed a petition claiming their opponents did not follow proper guidelines. A judge ruled Exum and Rentz followed the law and can stay on the ballot as write-in candidates.

"We've had very positive reaction from all segments of the community, African American white everybody," said Brooks County School Board District 4 candidate Gary Rentz.

After serving on the county commission for 20 years, Claude Butler lost his race in July. It was decided by those suspicious absentee votes, but he's not fighting to keep his seat.

"Whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game," said Butler.

But he does believe there were problems with absentee voting, and he hopes investigators will get to the bottom of them.

The Secretary of State's office and the GBI are still investigating allegations of voter fraud related to those July absentee ballots.

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