Former McDonough city councilwoman Sandra Vincent
McDONOUGH — Sandra Vincent could still be chosen by voters to serve on the Henry County Commission, despite announcing on Facebook in June that she was not going to seek the county post. The Fulton County government employee thought she was ineligible because her salary comes through the federal government.
“After I learned about the federal law [the Hatch Act, which renders federally-paid employee ineligible to compete in a partisan race, she said], I submitted a letter of resignation to the Henry County Board of Elections outlining my reason for withdrawing from the race,” continued Vincent, after qualifying for the post ended. “I later learned that a non-explanatory standard form affidavit was required for candidacy withdrawal, and my letter which outlined my reason for withdrawing could not be accepted.
“My name is still on the ballot,” said Vincent, on Monday.
On July 31, Vincent will be unopposed in the Democratic primary, and will face the winner of a three-man contest in the Republican primary, in November.
Henry County Elections and Registration Director Janet Shellnutt said voters can still cast ballots in Vincent’s favor — and are doing so.
“She’s still receiving votes, as far as I can tell,” said Shellnutt.
The elections director added, if Vincent is unable to resolve her employment issues in order to run for the commission, no one else will be able to run as a Democrat for the District III commission seat.
District III Commissioner Randy Stamey, a Republican, is not seeking re-election, but three others — all political newcomers — are running for their party’s nomination. They are Gary W. Barham, a former public works director for the City of McDonough; Kenneth David Sherman, a semi-retired business owner; and William L. “Bill” Toney, Jr., owner of Jenco, a golf cart manufacturing company.
Vincent said she sent an inquiry to the federal government in order to resolve her candidacy, and was told Georgia is one of the states that does not honor or recognize this law in its statutes.
“I contacted the legal division of both the State Board of Elections, and the Secretary of State’s Office, regarding regaining my seat as a council person in the City of McDonough,” she explained. She said she was told she remains eligible to seek the commission seat, and her city council resignation means the post is now vacant.
Vincent said although she remains on the county ballot, she is not actively campaigning or accepting campaign contributions. Instead, she is working to have her job position changed from a grant-funded to a general-funded one.
“This experience gives a clear example of what happens when multiple agencies have conflicting policies which govern the same issue,” said Vincent. “It is my hope that the relevant policies will be reconciled and this scenario does not happen to another person seeking public service.”
A special election will be held in McDonough, Nov. 6, to fill the McDonough City Council District 2 seat left behind by Vincent.