Fall Out Continues from Recent Vote

By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

HOUSTON COUNTY – Following allegations of ballot irregularities during the Nov. 7 election, the Houston County Election Commission voted unanimously to terminate Houston County Elections Administrator (EA) Gloria Swor.

The vote to terminate Swor happened during a meeting of the Election Commission held on Monday, Nov. 13.

The meeting was called to order at 8:30 a.m. by Houston County Judge Jim Lovell, who serves as the chairman of the commission. The other members of the commission are: County Clerk Bridget Lamb; County Tax Assessor – Collector Danette Millican; Houston County Democratic Party Chair Sharon Berry; and Houston County Republican Party Chair (and Crockett mayor) Joni Clonts.

Lovell opened the meeting and explained, “At this time we will go into executive session to discuss personnel matters. We will open the meeting back up to discuss what we determined in executive session.”

After approximately 30 minutes behind closed doors, the commission reconvened in open session.

“In executive session,” the judge began, “we discussed our elections administrator. Do we have a motion concerning what we discussed in executive session?”

“I’ll make a motion that we remove Gloria. There is nothing personal about it. It just has to do with the duties of the office,” Clonts motioned.

The motion was seconded by Berry.

Lovell asked if there was any discussion on the matter and several of the commission members, along with those in attendance, expressed their opinion.

“We made this decision,” Berry said, “based on the last election. Procedurally, improper ballots and qualifications – she’s just not living up to the standards so, we decided to remove her.”

“Gloria has also said this is more than she can handle,” Clonts added.

A question was asked if help was available for the EA office.

Lovell replied a position was not budgeted but indicated he had “… reached out to other counties of a similar size (as Houston County). Not every county has an EA, but the ones that do said it was a one person operation, except on election night. Day-to-day, voter registration and the EA work hand-in-hand and they handle it with one person in counties similar to our size.”

After a brief discussion pertaining to Swor’s background and training, a question about a recount or possible election nullification was asked.

“No,” the judge replied. “Someone has to call for a recount. That has not been done, at this time. Nothing happened with our EA that night (Nov. 7) – to my knowledge – or to anyone’s knowledge on this commission to nullify the election.”

The vote was taken and the motion was passed unanimously. Before the meeting was adjourned, Lovell stressed the action taken by the commission would not be finalized until it was approved by the Houston County Commissioners Court.

The next commissioners court meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 16 at 10 a.m.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.