Candler County Coroner Allen Tyler has filed a complaint with the Georgia Secretary of State regarding last week’s General Primary.
Tyler claims that after repeated efforts to rectify an error on the ballot, the ‘incumbent’ designation continued to be omitted from his name in the coroner’s race.
“It was brought up from the start about incumbent not being by my name,” Tyler said.
“I want the people to know ... and there was time for this to have been fixed. I was totally surprised when I voted that it was not fixed. I have no idea as to what could be done, but it was a mistake that should not have happened.
“Once the problem was addressed after the sample ballot first came out in the paper and I was told it was corrected, it should have been checked and rechecked.”
Tyler said he filed a complaint before Tuesday’s election and race results were posted. “Any candidate would feel the same way had it been a contested race that they were involved with,” he added.
Elections Superintendent Tony Thompson said, “The information label of ‘incumbent’ was missing on the ballot project for the local races of clerk of court, solicitor and coroner. When the error was discovered, it was corrected on all absentee ballots issued after April 30.
“It was also published for two additional weeks in the sample ballots in the Metter Advertiser. It was thought to be corrected on the actual voting machines information as well, but unfortunately was not. Therefore, after being alerted, signage with that information was posted at voting check-in stations and inside the voting areas, just as we do when there is a ballot change or other notice to voters.”
The solicitor and clerk of court offices were unopposed during the election.
The error first appeared after ballots had to be re-printed to accommodate the special election and new qualifying following the death of State Senator Jack Hill.
“I saw ‘incumbent’ was missing on the first sample ballot in the paper,” Tyler said. “Then they told me it was fixed, but the first batch of absentees went out without (the word).”
Tyler said when he went to early-voting on June 4, at the end of the day, he realized that ‘incumbent’ was still missing from his name and he pointed the error out to Thompson.
The recourse, Tyler said, was that a paper noting the change was placed at the various voting stations.
Tyler filed a complaint with the Secretary of State’s office by phone and said he is waiting to hear back from that.
“They have not advised me of any process that will follow,” he said.
Tyler, who was first elected in 2016, faced political challengers Jerry Brown and Joe Carter on the Republican Primary ballot. Results in that race showed Carter capturing 72% of the vote (1,182 votes), followed by Tyler with 17 percent (285 votes) and Brown with 11 percent (186 votes).