Election superintendent again voids Demorest recall effort

Habersham County Election Supervisor Laurel Ellison, who also serves as election superintendent for the city of Demorest, has again put at least a temporary halt to recall efforts against two city councilmen.

Ellison says the recall applications filed against Demorest councilmen Nathan Davis and John Hendrix are “insufficient.” She made the same ruling on a separate recall attempt just last month, but this time it was for a different reason.

(Hadley Cottingham/Now Habersham)

In her findings released Tuesday, Ellison said, “The Affidavits of Circulators and Petition Chairperson pages of the Recall Application lacked personal notarization.” She added, “Based on this examination and in accordance with O.C.G.A. Section 21-4-5(f)(2), the recall application is insufficient.”

Asked to clarify her ruling, Ellison tells Now Habersham “The notary did not personally see them sign the affidavits.” She goes on to explain how she reached that conclusion. “Because I was told by Florence Wikle that some of the people who circulated the recall applications were in the hospital when she turned it in on September 8th and all of the affidavits were dated that they were notarized on September 8th,” says Ellison. She adds that she also “called the notary to confirm that she did not personally see them sign.”

Recall application ruling on Nathan Davis

Recall application ruling on John Hendrix

Wikle is a former Demorest city council member who has assisted in both recall attempts. She says she understands Ellison’s decision but is still “disgusted.”

“I’m through,” she says, repeating for emphasis, “I’m through. I’m not doing this again.”

Wikle says several of the key recall committee members fell ill with COVID and at least one had to be hospitalized. She says that created confusion over getting the paperwork notarized.

There’s no limit to the number of recall applications that can be filed, so it is possible the effort to recall Davis and Hendrix could continue. The committee, led by Joan Tench, has not announced whether it will pursue any further action.

Ellison overturned two previous recall applications because a notary who endorsed the recall also notarized the application papers.

The threat of being recalled has loomed over Davis and Hendrix since April when voters became upset with them for supporting the city manager’s firing of the town’s popular police chief. The two also admitted to participating in backdoor meetings with City Manager Kim Simonds in an effort to try and oust the mayor and city attorney.

This article has been updated to include comments form Florence Wikle

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