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It’s hard to think of a public board in this town that hasn’t given the public fits at some point over the years. The Board of Elections has always been an exception. Until now.

The Richmond County Board of Elections closed its meeting to the public Thursday due to a completely vague and wholly unexplained threat of legal action over when it schedules local elections next year.

We understand the likelihood of lawsuits. The city charter calls for local elections in November, state law moved them to July, the U.S. Department of Justice objected to the move – and, ultimately, the U.S. Supreme Court eviscerated the department’s ability to object.

But closed meetings aren’t permitted without a concrete threat. And if the mere possibility of a lawsuit is able to drive our leaders into secret meetings, heaven help us. Do the public’s business in public whenever possible. Err on the side of openness.

We know the board members. They’re friends and neighbors. But this time, they let us down.

Comments (4) Add comment
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Riverman1
93737
Points
Riverman1 11/04/13 - 05:01 am
0
0
Blame The Right Person

I believe the BOE was following the advice of county attorney Andrew MacKenzie. He's the one to question, not the BOE members. But it could be he is right and litigation will result if the elections are moved. In that case, it's hard to criticize him when he's right.

Bulldog
1333
Points
Bulldog 11/04/13 - 07:22 am
0
0
Why would any of this require secrecy?

Even if the anticipated move is precipitating legal action; why should this require secrecy?

dichotomy
37496
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dichotomy 11/04/13 - 11:26 am
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0
Heck, everything this county

Heck, everything this county does is likely to cause a lawsuit. I guess there will never be a public meeting anymore. Our local commissions and boards already look like cats covering up poop most of the time anyway.

Little Lamb
49093
Points
Little Lamb 11/04/13 - 02:44 pm
0
0
Maybe

Yes, when you start closing public meetings because somebody might sue the city, then you might as well close all of them.

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