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Hall County, elections board settle dispute over who will supervise director Lori Wurtz
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Hall County Elections Director Lori Wurtz loads a batch of provisional ballots Monday, Nov. 9, 2020, after they are certified to be counted. - photo by Scott Rogers

The dispute between Hall County administrators and the elections board over the supervision of the elections director has ended.

According to the settlement agreement signed by the elections board on Tuesday May 11 and the board of commissioners on May 12, day-to-day supervision and evaluation of the county elections director will fall to elections board officials and the board’s chairman.

Additionally, an improvement plan made by the administrators for Elections Director Lori Wurtz will be turned over to the elections board.

In March, the election board filed a lawsuit against Hall County government and County Administrator Jock Connell over the supervision and a negative performance review of Wurtz.

According to the 67-page civil action document, the elections board states that the Hall County Board of Commissioners had no legal authority in enacting home rule by amending state legislation in 2018. That amendment created the elections director position and established supervisory control of the position under the county administrator.

In 2014, the passage of HB 1131 created a unified five-member board of elections and registration for Hall County. 

The elections board assumed the powers to conduct elections and voter registration and administer absentee balloting measures.

The board believes that the oversight given to Connell through the amendment -- which includes the day-to-day supervision, disciplinary action and termination of the elections director -- should be a power held under the umbrella of the elections board.

In a statement sent to The Times, Hall County government officials stated, “The Hall County Board of Commissioners and Hall County Board of Elections have worked together to craft a solution we feel is in the best interest of Hall County as a whole.”

Both parties have agreed that external communication of the matter to the media is limited to both parties’ “mutual satisfaction” of the terms of the agreement.

Officials with the county elections board could not be reached for comment. 

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