Helping the frustrated

Aurora Kelly Smalls she has worked at the voter registration office over the past eight years.

Orangeburg County has a new executive director of Voter Registration and Elections.

Aurora Kelly Smalls was named the new head of the county’s election department Thursday.

The Orangeburg County Voter Registration and Election Commission made the unanimous vote during a special called meeting after about 1/1-2 hours of deliberations in closed session.

“It was a tough fight. It was a tough battle,” John Nash, interim chairman of the County Voter Registration and Election Commission, said following the vote. “We felt that her experience working with voter registration and elections over the years helped us to make up our mind that she would be the best for the job at this time.”

Smalls, who declined comment on her selection, will start in the position within the next two weeks, Nash said.

Nash declined comment on Smalls’ salary, noting it was still under negotiations and will be announced at a later date.

County attorney Lakesha Jeffries said the salary will range from $37,000 to $53,000 a year.

The director is selected by the commission and hired as a county employee.

The position became vacant when Howard Jackson accepted the same position in Richland County.

Jackson was making an annual salary of about $45,000.

The other two finalists were Kizzie Scott and Jim Johnson Jr. About 25 individuals applied for the position and the pool was narrowed down to six before being narrowed down to three.

Nash said the most significant challenge facing the department is making the transition smooth for Smalls and the office staff.

Nash said there are no plans to change any staff in the elections office.

Smalls has worked for Orangeburg County as a systems analyst/computer programmer since 1999.

In addition, she has worked at the voter registration office over the past eight years as a rover, an information technology specialist, and has worked elections in loading the voting machines.

“She has a general knowledge of everything we do,” Nash said. “She has been with us a long time.”

Smalls graduated from Orangeburg Consolidated School District Five and has a bachelor of science degree in computer systems from Charleston Southern University and a master’s degree in computer information management from Webster University.

She has served on the Greater Edisto Chapter Board of the American Red Cross and the Orangeburg County Adult Literacy Council. She has also coached softball for various teams within the city.

Smalls and her husband, Julian, have two teenage daughters, Alanna and Taylor.

Contact the writer: gzaleski@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5551.

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