NEWBORN -- Newborn Mayor Roger Sheridan wants some changes to the way elections are handled in the town and he successfully petitioned the Newton County Board of Commissioners to intervene on his behalf.
County commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved a motion by District 1 Commissioner John Douglas to direct the county manager to instruct the elections supervisor or a designated representative to contact and work with the mayor "to streamline voting opportunities in that city."
"Currently, residents of the city of Newborn must go to two different places to vote on election day when city and county elections are held concurrently," the motion states. "It is the goal of this commission to have one precinct in Newborn that can be used for both city and county elections."
Residents of Newborn must go to Town Hall to vote in municipal elections and to Newborn United Methodist Church to vote in county-wide, state and federal elections. Though Sheridan said he's not aware of a situation in the past where residents have been required to vote in two places on Election Day, he'd like to avoid that scenario in the future.
Sheridan said he's tried to get a meeting with the Board of Elections with no success. He said there was a meeting about a year ago but nothing came of it.
"The problem is, it's very simple -- it's that I feel the voters are being disenfranchised," he siad. "There is no way that anybody's going to vote twice in two different locations on voting day. It's bad enough getting them out for one."
In addition, Sheridan wants the election supervisor and poll workers that handle the county, state and federal elections to also handle the town elections and for early voting for the town elections to take place at the Newton County Administration Building. Currently, the town has to pay for staffers to man the early voting for town elections at Town Hall and he wants the county to take over "so we wouldn't have to put two people down here for two weeks doing nothing and getting paid for it."
Sheridan has said he would be agreeable to paying a fee for the county to handle the town elections.
Currently the city of Covington is the only municipality with elections handled by the Newton County Board of Elections.
County commissioners directed the county manager to return to them with a solution at their June 18 meeting. Time is of the essence, Sheridan said, because the changes would have to go through the United States Department of Justice and he would like the issues resolved in time for the November election.