BOARD OF REGISTRATIONS AND ELECTIONS, RICHMOND COUNTY: JULY 13TH, 2015 MEETING

Update on the November 3rd, 2015 General Municipal and Special Election

The board noted that a special-purpose local-option sales tax referendum is coming up in November and municipal elections will be occurring at the same time.

Hearing re: the Remaining 302 Voters from the Former Cherry Tree Crossing Apartment Complex

In 2013, the housing authority of Cherry Tree Crossing Apartment Complex in Augusta, GA received final approval from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to demolish the complex and gave individuals a ninety (90)-day notice before they could begin relocations. Many of the residents have already left but have not re-registered or updated their addresses–leaving them ineligible to vote.

The board began with a memo on efforts by the board to remedy this issue. Click this link to see the memo, with full details on the Cherry Tree voter location efforts.

The board of registrars for each county has the duty to ensure that voters on their lists are actual, franchised voters. It is their duty to check to felons and other that are ineligible to vote. If the board decides to issue challenges to voter registrations (e.g. if the board decides to attempt to take voters off the rolls), they must send out notices.

The board had, in this case, already sent out notices.

Once an individual is taken off the voter rolls, they can appeal that process through the superior court. The board had sent notices to individuals who no longer lived at valid addresses but many of those notices were returned as non-deliverable (given that those individuals had moved).

During the discussion of the issue of voter registration regarding the individuals that resided at the former Cherry Tree Crossing Apartment Complex, Member David M. “Chip” Barbee (R) asked if there was a provision within the law that would allow (or prohibit) the board to publish these missing individuals’ names in the paper to inform them that they are no longer registered at the right address.

Director Lynn Bailey (I) responded that she was unaware of any legal barriers and seconded the proposal.

There was discussion of the cost of this advertisement and some indication that the cost should be approximately a few hundred dollars.

Secretary Sherry Barnes (R) expressed her belief that the board  had done all they could to locate and re-register these individuals and that it was now the responsibility of the displaced Cherry Tree residents  to re-register. She further noted that these individuals had made no effort thus far to contact the board to re-register.

Member L.C. Myles (D) was of the opinion that the board should do anything and everything possible to notify those individuals that they are no longer registered at the correct address–even if those measures go beyond what the law requires.

Director Bailey responded that she was highly willing to continue trying to locate these displaced residents  and restated the board’s options:

  1. Notify the press
  2. Run the names in an advertisement in the paper and include the names on a press release
  3. Notify the media that they should, on their own websites, link to the list of names on the board of elections’ website as well

Director Bailey also noted that this would be an apt opportunity to promote the mobile application for registration.

The board decided to continue exploring these additional options and Director Bailey noted that she would report back with answers to the board’s questions relating to the legality of these additional measures.

The Newly Appointed State Elections Director

The board briefly discussed Chris Harvey’s appointment as the new State Elections Director. They indicated that they were pleased with his appointment, as he has always been a helpful individual to them.

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