Former Macon Mayor: Board should approve District 1 seat special election

Former Macon Mayor C. Jack Ellis is holding a press conference Tuesday morning to address the vacant Macon-Bibb County District 1 seat/WGXA

MACON, Ga. -- Former Macon Mayor C. Jack Ellis addressed the vacant Macon-Bibb County District 1 seat Tuesday morning, urging the Board of Elections to reverse their decision to vote down a May special election last week.

Ellis -- Macon mayor from 1999-2007 -- spoke at the Board of Elections on Pio Nono Ave. in Macon.

"It would be hypocritical of me as a politician in this city -- a former mayor who has fought most of my adult life for the right of all people to vote -- to be silent when they're denied that right," Ellis said. "I call upon the Board of Elections to right away convene an emergency meeting and reverse their decision and allow this vote to go forward."

The Board of Elections last Friday voted down a May special election to fill the seat. Monday, officials filed a lawsuit against Macon-Bibb County regarding the decision. The lawsuit includes a motion to require a special election on May 22.

Currently, District 1 is set to go without representation for eight months, as it will be empty until the November election.

"This is one time we should all be concerned," Ellis said. "Because if it can happen to this district, it can happen to another district."

Gary Bechtel resigned from the District 1 seat in March as he prepares to run for District 141 for the Georgia House of Representatives.

Prior to Friday's vote, Macon-Bibb recently approved $19,535 in funding for a special election.

Macon-Bibb faces looming budget problems -- almost a $4 million deficit for fiscal year 2018.

"We have such an important decision that must be made in the next 90 days," Ellis said. "The budget of this county must be voted upon. ...We cannot allow this position to be vacant at such a critical time."

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