By Nick Nunn Staff Writer

The Morgan County Board of Elections and Registration (BOER) is still trying to pin down a polling place location for the newly created “Central Morgan” precinct, with its top prospect currently being the Madison Baptist Church.

“The Baptist Church is a fabulous place to hold it,” said Morgan County Elections Supervisor, who noted the spacious location and ample parking. BOER Chair George Holt said that the church had been contacted regarding the possibility of using their location of the Central Morgan precinct polling place.

Holt said that the church’s board of deacons will meet during the first week of December and should decide on the matter during that meeting.

The board had been considering the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center (MMCC) as a possible polling place but were turned down by the MMCC’s board of directors prior to the BOER’s Nov. 21 meeting.

Morgan County Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS) also turned the BOER down for the use of their location.

According to Howington, Jim Bricker, director of the Office of Facilities and Support Services branch of the Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS), said in an email to Kelly Beasley, director of the Morgan County DFCS office, that allowing the BOER to use their facility would “negatively impact and disrupt” daily operations and that the amount of people coming in and out of the room could create issues of client confidentiality.

Bricker also stated that a polling place could be interpreted as a political meeting, and the use of DHS facilities by outside groups for a political meeting is restricted by DHS regulations.

BOER Member John Milliken took DFCS’ refusal as an affront, noting that the BOER has used the DFCS facility in the past as a polling place and that the Morgan Memorial Hospital Authority currently uses it as a meeting room.

According to Milliken, the room that the Morgan County DFCS occupies is owned by Morgan County, and Milliken proposed that the board make “overtures to the county commission to see if they will back us” on the issue of being able to use the room as a polling location.

Holt appointed Howington and Milliken to go speak with the county manager, Michael Lamar, about the county’s standpoint on the issue.

The BOER also reviewed and approved invoices for the costs incurred by Madison, Bostwick, and Rutledge during the recent municipal elections. Madison’s invoice from the BOER totals $2,455.77, while Bostwick and Rutledge’s invoices are for $2,255.90 and $1,814.25, respectively.

The BOER members in attendance signed the board’s intergovernmental agreement with Buckhead. The agreement states that the Morgan County Office of Elections will handle Buckhead’s future municipal elections.

Board members also approved of the official precinct map, asking only that the precinct names be placed directly on the map, that the current commissioners’ names be removed from the map, and that the colors of the precincts be changed to distinct colors for the sake of clarity.