Hearing date set for Decatur City Council candidates facing nomination objections


The hearing date is set for four Decatur City Council candidates who faced objections to their nominating petitions but were allowed to stay on the ballot.

Those challenged are:

Mike McElroy, mayoral candidate, two-year term

Betsy Stockard, council candidate, four-year term

Julie Moore Wolfe, council candidate, four-year term

Patrick McDaniel, council candidate, two-year term

The hearings are scheduled to start at 9:00 a.m. Monday, February 9 at the Macon County Courthouse in courtroom 5A.

Brian Burcham and Keith Anderson separately filed objections against the petitions of nine candidates. Both men are associated with the group ChangeDecatur, but said the objections were not linked to the group. ChangeDecatur is behind several unsuccessful attempts to alter the city's form of government to "strong mayor" from the current "council-manager" form.

Burcham initially filed objections against the petitions of McDaniel, McElroy, Wolfe, and Matthew Jackson. Jackson was running for a four-year council seat but dropped out of the race prior to his objection hearing. Anderson filed objections against Stockard, four-year candidates Gloria Bates-Cole and Yvonne Shaw, two-year candidate Derek Wheeler, and mayoral candidate Martha Mae Montgomery-Lattimore. Wheeler withdrew from the race before his hearing. The electoral board sustained objections against Cole, Shaw and Montgomery-Lattimore.

The primary reason Burcham objected to McElroy's petitions is because some people present at the time McElroy handed his petitions to the city clerk said the paperwork was not fastened as the election code mandates. McElroy insisted the papers were fastened with a paperclip and the board agreed. McDaniel faced an objection for not having his entire petition numbered consecutively. The electoral board ruled his petition complied with code because the pages were consecutively numbered based on the circulators. The objection against Wolfe was filed because Burcham believed the petition was not in Wolfe's possession when some signatures were written and some signatures were not of properly registered voters. The board sustained part of that objection, but said she still had enough valid signatures after some were disqualified. Anderson's objection to Stockard's petition included several complaints including some pages failing to identify which council petition she sought, a page that did not include her address, incomplete addresses next to some signatures because of the use of dittos, multiple signatures made by the same person, and signatures of voters who were not properly registered. The electoral board sustained some of those objections, but denied others which left her with enough valid signatures to remain on the ballot.

Burcham and Anderson will make oral arguments before a judge February 9th explaining why they think the electoral board's decisions on those four candidates should be overturned.

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