ATLANTA -- State Rep. Rusty Kidd of Milledgeville is under investigation by the State Election Board for a handful of alleged irregularities in a list of more than 1,000 signatures that he needs to return to the 2012 ballot as an independent.
There are 17 signatures under investigation, Kidd said, of about 1,500 that he collected.
They are family members signing for each other, he said, such as a wife signing for a husband who had left his glasses in the car and couldn’t see.
He needs signatures of 5 percent of registered voters in his Baldwin-centered district to qualify for the state House ballot. That’s about 1,200 signatures.
The investigation was triggered when state officials noted the signature of someone not registered to vote on the list, Kidd said. They contacted the man and asked him if he wished to register, and it came out that he had not signed the petition -- his mother had put his name.
Kidd collects signatures by circulating petitions, which get passed around by supporters.
He is the sole independent in the 236-member state Legislature, so the only one who collected signatures to get the job. He was first elected in 2009.
The news comes days after a blue-ribbon panel recommended easing ballot access in Georgia. The Secretary of State’s Election Advisory Council, made up of politicians including Kidd, election officials, party delegates and academics, recommends waiving the signature requirement for incumbents running for the same office. They also recommend cutting the number of signatures needed for state Legislature ballot access to 5 percent of voter turnout, not 5 percent of registered voters.
The State Election Board may address any problems as early as its next meeting, Feb. 29 in Macon.
A spokesman for the Secretary of State’s office, which oversees the election board, said he could not confirm any investigation or comment on any investigation that might be under way
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