The Fulton County Board of Registration and Elections began their regular meeting by removing thirty-three (33) names off of the voter list due to felony convictions.
Special Elections Update
The board spoke briefly to confirm that things are running smoothly with the District 55 elections–discussing logistics and the monthly operations report (e.g. the number of early voters etc.)–and then moved on to the topic of registration applications.
Voter Registration Applications
At the cost of a little over twenty two thousand dollars ($22,000), the board has processed thirty-nine thousand, five hundred and sixty-five (39,565) registration applications this year, seven thousand, one hundred and sixty-five (7,165) of which were submitted in June. The number of applications processed this June is higher than the number of applications processed in June 2013 or June 2011–years in which the majority of elections held are at the municipal level.
House Bill 121
Although Georgia House Bill 121 was introduced in the 2015 regular session and did not pass, there are plans to reintroduce the bill in 2016. House Bill 121 would allow Georgia access to tribal databases, so that Georgia residents who are also registered members of tribes can use tribal ID cards as a form of voter identity verification. Additionally, the legislation amends the Georgia Code relating to write-in candidacy filings and cleans up extraneous Code sections.
House Bill 121:
- amends Georgia Code relating to write-in candidacy filings
- eliminates references to municipal registrars and revises wording of qualifications
- revises regulations regarding certain proofs of citizenship
- provides for the dissemination of certain voter registration information
- provides for the updating of municipal maps to the board of registrars
- regulates the usage of absentee and provisional ballots
- provides for the transfer of voter registration to another county in certain circumstances
For more information see: Georgia House Bill 121
Citizenship Verification Issues
The board moved on to address citizenship verification issues–specifically the issue of some naturalized citizens currently being required to provide additional verification of their citizenship when they arrive at the polls to vote.
The board “hopes” that the implementation of the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (“SAVE”) program on August 10th will streamline the voting process for these individuals and eliminate the problem. The Department of Homeland Security/United States Citizen and Immigration Services program would make it possible to determine an individual’s lawful presence status in the United States by pulling from multiple databases. Should someone come to the polls wrongfully listed as a non-citizen, under current conceptions of this plan, poll workers will be deputized to allow the individual to vote provided that the individual has some form of proof of citizenship.
Despite the Secretary of State’s verbal (over the phone) instructions to the Fulton County Board of Elections that the individuals reviewed and deemed naturalized citizens by the state should not be asked to provide additional identification, the Board of Registration and Elections is waiting for written confirmation of this instruction from the Secretary of State before formally amending their election procedures.
While Fulton County wanted to notify the individuals currently suspected of being wrongly listed as non-citizens of their current, inaccurately-listed citizenship status, to notify these individuals of the possibility that additional identification might be necessary at the polls, they were instructed by the Secretary of State not to do so.
Approval of Contracts to Conduct the 2015 General Election for the Cities of Hapeville, Milton, and Roswell
The board then proceeded to unanimously approve standard contracts to conduct the 2015 General Election for the Cities of Hapeville, Milton, and Roswell.
Voting of [New] Vice Chair
Member Stan Matarazzo (R) was elected as Vice Chair. His term will be from August 1, 2015 to July 31, 2015.
Approval for Purchase of Elections Management System to Comply with Consent Order
The board discussed a particular aspect of their compliance with the Fulton County Consent Orders issued by the State: the acquisition of an Elections Management System to prevent any more of the mismanagement of voter registration and ballot counting that occurred in the 2008 and 2012 elections. The new system should also cut down voter check-in time at the polls from three (3) minutes to approximately thirty (30) seconds.