Woman Battles to Get on Clinch Voter Rolls; She Accuses Registrars of Racial Discrimination for Denying Her Application

Article excerpt

Byline: TERRY DICKSON

The wife of one of Georgia's best-known residents has accused Clinch County voter registrars of racial discrimination for denying her application to vote in her hometown.

Ronda Cross-Scott, the wife of former University of Georgia football player Lindsay Scott, was denied entry onto Clinch County voter rolls as recently as Tuesday afternoon. That's when four members of the Clinch County Board of Registrars declined to second a motion by William "Billy" Cunningham to accept her documents proving residency and to register her as a voter.

Although Cross-Scott asserted she will continue to try to get on the rolls, her husband has decided not to. Scott is still revered by many Georgia fans for his catch and run that beat the Florida Gators in Jacksonville on Nov. 8, 1980.

Although less famous across Georgia than her husband, Cross-Scott is well-known in Homerville and says she wants to continue working for poor and minority residents in the town where she grew up.

Cross-Scott asserts she has no problem establishing residence with other county agencies and has provided documentation. She has a homestead exemption on a Homerville apartment that she and her husband built, a firearms permit issued by the Clinch County Probate Court and a driver's license with a Homerville address.

That has not been sufficient for the Board of Registrars. Cross-Scott said the registrars have asked for her 2004 federal tax return, loan applications, titles to her vehicles, contracts with the builders of her apartment, telephone, cable TV and other utility bills and a consent for the registrars to obtain her employment records and mileage reimbursement forms.

Cross-Scott accused the registrars of being unreasonable and asking for far more than is allowed by law. The information contained on loan applications is confidential by law, she said.

"That's none of their business" and has nothing to do with where she lives, Cross-Scott said.

Cross-Scott readily admits that she and her husband have two dwelling places, one in a golf course community in Valdosta and the other in one of two four-unit apartment buildings they own in Homerville. But she says she wants to establish her domicile in Homerville, vote there and perhaps run for office again.

Cross-Scott was successful once, winning a four-year term on the Clinch County Commission in 2001. She took office Jan. 1, 2002, but lost a primary race in 2004 to Debra Thomas.

Chief Registrar Sherrie Peterson said the original challenges to Cross-Scott's residency came from people who supported Thomas. When Cross-Scott challenged their votes, many of the residents asked the registrars the same question, "Why has she got the right to challenge me when she lives in Valdosta?" Peterson said.

After repeated questions, the Board of Registrars investigated Cross-Scott's residency and found her primary residence to be Valdosta. …