Oakwood to install new council member as election probe continues

The City of Oakwood will swear in the certified winner of the March 12 special city council election while mindful of the continuing investigation by the Georgia Secretary of State’s office.

In doing so, city officials, in a news release Tuesday afternoon, cited a part of the Georgia Code that it says provided that “the city may swear in the presumptive winner, even if a challenge is pending.”

The swearing-in of Rhonda Wood was originally scheduled to take place tonight but was cancelled after questions about the election arose (see earlier stories below). It is now planned for April 8.


“The City of Oakwood will swear in the certified winner of the March 12, 2024 municipal election for the unexpired term for the vacant seat previously held by Dwight Wood pursuant to the provisions of O.C.G.A. Section 21-2-503(b).

Accordingly, the swearing in will be on the agenda for the next regularly scheduled monthly city council meeting on April 8, 2024.

While the City acknowledges the conclusions of the Hall County Board of Elections and the investigation of the Georgia Secretary of State’s office may be on-going, O.C.G.A. Section 21-2-503(b) provides that the City may swear in the presumptive winner – even if a challenge is pending. Additionally, O.C.G.A. Section 21-2-521 provides the sole method for challenging the election and the time limits for filing such a challenge.

Since the time for filing such a challenge by Volley Collins has expired (see O.C.G.A. Section 21-2-524 – five days after certification), the City Council will proceed to seat the certified victor – Rhonda Wood.”

(EARLIER STORY: Oakwood officials Friday afternoon announced they have canceled Monday’s swearing-in of city councilwoman-elect Rhonda Wood. This follows Friday morning’s announcement that the Secretary of State’s Office has opened an investigation into the issue surrounding her election that came to light earlier this week.

(EARLIER STORY: The Georgia Secretary of State’s Office (SOS) confirmed Friday morning that it will be investigating the March 12 special council election in Oakwood in which 200 people who were not registered to vote in city elections voted. Spokesman Robert Sinners said “Can confirm we have an open investigation. Can’t share anything beyond that.” 97.5 GLORY FM had asked who requested the investigation and what the procedure for it would be.)

(EARLIER STORY: State House delegation calls Oakwood election snafu ‘inexcusable’ & ‘serious’ 97.5 Glory FM | North Georgia’s Family Radio Station (wgtjradio.com) )