Unqualified, Former Sheriff Randy Howard Named Sumter County’s Elections Supervisor

December 2019

Trained and Certified Candidate LaSandra Patterson Rejected

Randy Howard has no training or certification to supervise elections.

LaSandra Patterson has experience, training and certification to supervise elections.

Phillip Deese voted for Randy Howard, who has no experience and rejected the experienced LaSandra Patterson.

James Gaston decided to put Randy Howard over such a critical election board without any experience.

Michael Tracy voted against LaSandra Patterson, who is well trained but chose Randy Howard who has no training.

Staff Reports

The Americus Sumter Observer newspaper reports that the Sumter County Board of Elections and Registration members who voted for an untrained Randy Howard to be the supervisor over and above the trained and experienced LaSandra Patterson. They are Mike Tracy, Phillip Deese, and James Gaston. The two opposing members are Jewell Ewing and Shirley Latimore. The two opposing members desired to vote for the best-qualified person for the position and protect the integrity of elections in Sumter County. The Board of Elections and Registration is appointed by the Sumter County Board of Commissioners for four-year terms.

When Randy Howard was the Sumter County Sheriff, the voters overwhelmingly removed him from office. He later resurfaced as Sumter County Commissioner and was made chairman. He allegedly tampered with the voting machines during the elections when as sheriff he was manager of the voting machines. He was accused of voter intimidation by showing up in uniform at Black precincts and was charged with being too close to the voting polls. He was also accused, along with his cousin Sherry Ratliff, the former Elections Supervisor, of allegedly obtaining votes illegally from the Magnolia Manor Nursing Home. According to the local NAACP, pre-filled ballots were signed by residents and returned for filing with the Supervisor.

Randy has absolutely no training as an elections supervisor and has never been certified.

The experienced LaSandra Patterson was rejected by the three Whiteboard members.

Patterson, on the other hand, has been certified, trained on how to properly mail out absentee ballots, maintain the deceased persons list in conjunction with the probate court records, filed convicted felons list with the clerk of courts, and she was well trained on the new Georgia voting system.

Voters removed Randy Howard in the last election as Commissioner.

Mrs. Patterson applied twice; she was rejected the first time when Robert Brady, the previous supervisor was appointed and now Howard was appointed. She told our Observer that, “New equipment is going to be used in
2020. Paper ballots have to be filled out by the voter and placed into a machine. This will give us a way to check the ballot if questions arise.”

“We want to remind our readers that former Commission Chairman Randy Howard, along with two White Commissioners, wasted nearly $2million dollars to keep illegal school districts in Sumter County. Several court appeals were rejected by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. The Sumter County taxpayers are the losers,” says John Marshall, past president of the Sumter County NAACP.