Cheryl Calhoun tried to run against Jon Howard,
but was mistakenly put in the race for Ward 2
By Kevin Hogencamp
THE ALBANY JOURNAL
Cheryl Calhoun and her husband, Randal, say they tried to set Dougherty County election officials straight: She went to Albany city hall to run against Ward 1 City Commissioner Jon Howard in August, but was told that she lived in Ward 2.
The election officials discovered Tuesday that they were wrong.
Calhoun will be disqualified from the Ward 2 race in the Nov. 8 election – a quandary resulting from Calhoun and her neighbors on the 1500 and 1600 block of Georgia Avenue in east Albany being mistakenly listed in voter records as living in Ward 2, Elections Supervisor Ginger Nickerson said Tuesday.
Nickerson agreed that Calhoun is not to blame for the dilemma and said that it is unknown whether the Ward 1 and Ward 2 elections, which are under way through early and absentee voting, will be impacted by elections office’s mistake. A potential scenario is that the Ward 1 and Ward 2 election that are under way will be canceled and rescheduled.
Nickerson said that her office’s records show that exactly 100 voters are affected by the registration error. It is unknown how long those voters and others have been voting in the wrong ward, she said.
City planning staffers began making changes to city records Tuesday afternoon to accurately reflect the residences of Calhoun and her neighbors – all of whom live east of the Ward 1-Ward 2 Maple Road dividing line, Nickerson said.
A special, emergency Board of Elections meeting will be held to review the matter at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday. The Albany Journal brought the issue of Calhoun not living in the ward she sought to represent to Nickerson’s attention on Tuesday morning. Nickerson immediately contacted the Georgia Secretary of State’s office and City Attorney Nathan Davis, and the elections board meeting was called.
The Albany Journal broke the news to Calhoun about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.
“This is surprising, but I’m not upset all,” she said. “All that matters is to make things right now that it has happened.”
Calhoun said her husband, Randal, pleaded with election officials to get their information correct when she attempted to run against Howard, to no avail.
“He (Randal Calhoun) was sure they were wrong and tried to show them on the map,” Cheryl Calhoun said. “I even called Jon to let him know I was running against him, and after I got put in the other race, he has been a mentor to me.”
Calhoun has been a registered voter at her 1525 Georgia Avenue address since 2006, but she has not voted in a City Commission race since she has lived at that address, records show.
Howard is unopposed; the Ward 2 candidates are Melissa Strother and Ivey Hines.
Also up for grabs on Nov. 8 are the mayor’s seat and the Ward 4 and Ward 6 City Commission seats.
The elections board meeting will held in room 120 of the Government Center, 222 Pine Ave.