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Conyers prepares to turn over Ware election documents to GBI

CONYERS — The city of Conyers is preparing to hand over evidence to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation regarding misleading candidate qualification information provided by former mayoral candidate Olivia Ware.

Conyers City Manager Tony Lucas said on Friday the city clerk and city attorneys are compiling the relevant documents in anticipation of providing the information to the GBI sometime this week.

“The city has decided so as not to have any appearance that the Conyers Police Department is showing any level of bias that we will consult with the GBI and take them all the information we have,” Lucas said.

On Sept. 25, Conyers Election Superintendent Patricia Smith found that Olivia Holmes Ware is not legally qualified to run for the office of mayor in the Nov. 5 election.

Smith, who also serves as city clerk, presided over a hearing on Sept. 20 to determine whether Ware is legally qualified to run for mayor based on discrepancies in Ware’s voter registration record and her residency within the city limits.

In her decision, Smith outlined these discrepancies, which were testified to by a number of witnesses, including elections supervisors for both Rockdale and Newton counties.

Ware swore in the Notice of Candidacy and Affidavit when she qualified on Aug. 30 to run for mayor that she had lived in Rockdale County for two years and the city of Conyers for one.

Smith found, however, that Ware had changed her address on her driver’s license and voter’s registration from Newton County to an address in unincorporated Rockdale County on Aug. 16 and then changed her driver’s license again to an address within the city limits on Aug. 30.

According to the decision, Ware’s name will be “stricken from the ballots and/or a prominent notice shall be placed at each affected polling place advising voters of your disqualification. All votes cast for you shall be void and shall not be counted.”

Lucas said the city will turn over to the GBI all relevant information, including the documents Ware filed when she qualified to run for mayor in the Nov. 5 General Municipal Election, information from the voter registrars offices in both Rockdale and Newton counties and information from the state Department of Driver Services.

“It will then be in the hands of the GBI to determine if they see fit to seek prosecution,” Lucas said. “We want the citizens of Conyers to know that we are taking this very seriously and we are turning this over to an investigative agency.”