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Houston state rep credited with fixing early voter issue

Todd Edwards, right, of the Association County Commissioners of Georgia, presents Houston County State Rep. Heath Clark with a photo of the Houston County courthouse for his efforts to get a bill passed that fixed an issue with early voting.
Todd Edwards, right, of the Association County Commissioners of Georgia, presents Houston County State Rep. Heath Clark with a photo of the Houston County courthouse for his efforts to get a bill passed that fixed an issue with early voting. The Telegraph

House Bill 772 didn’t get much attention in the past session of the Georgia General Assembly, but it was pretty important to some people.

State Rep. Heath Clark, R-Warner Robins, was given the an award on Tuesday for sponsoring the bill that fixed an issue with early voting.

Last year July 4 fell on an early voting Saturday and state law required that the polls open. Poll workers had to sit there all day with very few people voting.

Commission Chairman Tommy Stalnaker asked Clark to get a bill passed that would fix the problem and Clark got it done. It was the first bill he got passed.

Clark said it came “down to the wire” to get it passed in time in the Senate.

“I’m sitting there sweating bullets because I knew Chairman Stalnaker was watching it,” Clark said. “I did learn through this that even a good idea, a common sense idea, takes as much work as something that might be complicated.”

Previously, early voting was held on the second Saturday before an election. Under the new law if a holiday falls on that Saturday or the following Sunday or Monday, then early voting will fall to the third Saturday before the election.

The Association County Commissioners of Georgia backed the law, and a representative of the organization came to Tuesday’s commission meeting to present Clark with groups Legislative Service Award for his efforts to get the bill passed. Only six of the awards were given out this year.

Houston County Board of Elections members were appreciative enough that some of them came to the meeting to see Clark get the award.

Wayne Crenshaw: 478-256-9725, @WayneCrenshaw1

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