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State investigation of Hall elections still open
Elections director says at least 1 given wrong ballot
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A state investigation of a complaint at the Hall County Elections Office is still open, according to a spokesman with Georgia’s Secretary of State’s office.

Before this year’s general primary, the state office’s elections division opened an investigation into what county officials called “a singular incident.”

Jared Thomas, a spokesman for the state office, said there was no update in the investigation. No information has been released on its focus, and Thomas did not give a timeline as to when investigators will wrap up the investigation.

 “There is no typical investigation or timeline,” Thomas wrote in an email. “Each issue is examined with great care and detail. Because this is an election year, our office has a high volume of investigations open at this time.”

Once the investigators finish their report, it is passed off to the State Election Board. Its next meeting is Tuesday, but Hall County’s case is not on the agenda.

Hall County Elections Director Charlotte Sosebee said the case is still pending and “hopefully it will be on (the) calendar soon.”

She declined further comment.

According to earlier Times reports, before Sosebee knew of a state inquiry into the office, she confirmed that at least one voter had voted on the wrong ballot.

That voter, Shanon Lutz, was allowed to vote a second time on the correct ballot, according to Sosebee. Her original vote will also likely be counted.

Lutz is the wife of Hall County Commissioner Craig Lutz. The couple lives in commission District 1, where he serves, and should not be allowed to vote in other district races.

But when she went to the Hall County Elections Office to vote early, elections officials gave Shanon Lutz a ballot that allowed her to vote in the District 2 commission race, according to Sosebee.

Sosebee had said that Lutz signed the ballot application of another voter, allowing her to vote in the District 2 race.
But after the mistake was realized, Sosebee said Lutz was allowed to vote a second time.

“I really didn’t know what to do,” Sosebee told The Times. “Who was to blame? There could have been a glitch in the program.”

As a result of the mistake, voters now have to initial next to their printed names on a ballot application.

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