Top election officials resign due to harassment just weeks before election

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STEPHENS COUNTY, Ga. – The Elections Supervisor for Stephens County, Krista Terry, announced her resignation on Tuesday, followed by the resignation of Poll Manager Shelia McClain, claiming harassment in their work environment.

With the Nov. 8 election around the corner, it has left many to question the abrupt departure.

Fellow members of the County Elections Board spoke highly of the two election officials and expressed their remorse in the events that lead to them turning in their resignations. 

Vice Chair Lori McAvoy said she will miss Terry’s professionalism and her departure was ultimately the result of constant questioning and harassment.

“We just could not have been more thrilled with Krista’s professionalism and her enthusiasm that she brought to the office. That is why we are so disheartened…It is a shame that as a county we have allowed a wonderful, capable young woman to be harassed to a point that she felt leaving was the best thing for not only herself but her family,” McAvoy said.

She continued to say that she was not surprised at her exit because of the treatment Terry had been receiving by certain groups.

“[Terry] was in a very hostile environment with some people that seem to be very suspicious of the voting integrity. Everything that she did was under a microscope and she felt that instead of the community working together to be the best it could be and provide fair and balances elections, there seemed to be a group that was bound and determined to run her off,” McAvoy explained.

McAvoy said that the bullying got so bad that she was told that she should not even work in Stephens County and allegedly that came from a member of the Georgia Secretary of State’s office.

McClain left her position shortly after Terry, with claims that she was also upset at how she had been treated.

McAvoy said that it was put that ‘if Terry was gone that McClain was gone’ with McClain not wanting to be a part of it if she was not going to be there.

Looking to the future, McAvoy said she was concerned on how this situation will transpire when they look to fill the position again.

“This hostile environment is not going away and how do we accurately reflect that when we look to bring a new hire into this environment. How are we gong to do that and reassure them that we have their back. There is going to be people that abuse open records requests and challenge anything that will give them an excuse to cry wolf when it comes to their voting effort and there’s noting there,” McAvoy expressed.

She said that is something that the citizens of Stephens County should look into and raise the question on how this will affect not only this position but other elected officials’ positions.

With the election right around the corner, Stephens County reached out for support and is going to have an official from Habersham County come in and help poll workers with the day to day voting activity.

A meeting will be held tonight at the Stephens County Republican Party at 7:00 p.m. and it will be reveled the examples of bullying and abuse that Terry received.

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