BOARD OF REGISTRATIONS AND ELECTIONS, HANCOCK COUNTY: SEPTEMBER 17, 2015 MEETING

In attendance:

Kathy Ransom (Chairperson)

Nancy Stephens (Vice Chair)

Linda Clayton (Board Member, D)

Robert Ingram (Board Member, D)

Jim Youmans (Board Member)

Ms. Grant (attorney)

Introduction

Member Youmans suggested adding an executive session to discuss the issues covered by attorney-client privilege.

Member Ingram expressed that he was upset that the executive session was being called out the blue.

Member Ingram was the only nay vote. All other members voted yea.

The meeting was adjourned to executive session immediately.

The only items that were discussed during the executive session were related to pending litigation.

  1. Elector challenges by Member Stephens

*These “elector challenges” are instances in which an individual, in this case Member Stephens, claims that a registered voter does not live at the address that he/she used on his/her voter registration application. If the voter does not live at the listed address, a) he/she may not vote in the municipality (Sparta) or county (Hancock) in which he/she has been voting and b) he/she, if unwilling to amend his/her application, may be subject to prosecution by Georgia’s Attorney General (Sam Olens), as recommended by Georgia’s Secretary of State (Brian Kemp). Those individuals would be summoned by Secretary Kemp for a hearing to determine whether enough facts are present to support a prosecution for voter fraud. If the Secretary Kemp determines that necessary facts are present, he binds (passes over) the case to AG Olens for prosecution.

 Member Stephens is sworn in by Chairperson Ransom

  • One of the challenges–Felicia Evans: came to the office and provided a change of address to the Elections Supervisor.
    • the board noted that there was no need to move forward

* Member Ingram

  • asked why the board was trying to determine guilt or innocence of any of these accused individuals, if the Secretary of State has already determined that those individuals are already guilty to a degree
    • (Note: as dictated by procedure, any names of potential fraudulent voters that the board of elections passes to Secretary Kemp will be subject to a hearing.  Member Ingram seemed to assume that the certainty of a hearing, if those names were passed along, indicated that Secretary Kemp already believed those individuals guilty at a base level).

*Ms. Grant

  • responded that the board isn’t determining whether these people are guilty or innocent but is instead just determining whether enough facts are present to pass the names along to Secretary Kemp, who would then make his own determination as to whether to bind the case over to AG Olens

Challenges, by name

GLENN THOMAS INGRAM

  • Ms. Grant
    • noted that because the accused’s criminal records cannot be distributed to the public under the Open Records Act, the board must destroy the information in front of them, relating to Ingram’s criminal record, before leaving
  • Ms.Grant
    • suggested swearing in Elections Supervisor Medlock to speak to Ingram’s Department of Driver Services (DDS) record
  • Elections Supervisor Medlock
    • was sworn in and read his DDS record report, which states that Ingram lives in Baldwin
  • Angela Ingram and Glenn Ingram (married) have both improperly listed their address on their voter registration forms
    • Voter fraud:
      • Angela: 36 counts
      • Glenn: 25 counts
  • Challenger Glenn Ingram:
    • stated that he has been in law enforcement for 22 years, served overseas in Desert Storm
    • said that he has voted in Hancock County since he was 18 years old, works two full time jobs in Hancock county, and shops/banks there
    • said that he has never doubted that he lived at 116 Car Station Road but that his voter’s address is 12127 Broad Street and that he parks his vehicle at 12127 Broad Street
    • asked that the board respect his preference to vote in Hancock County, as he considered himself a resident
  • Ms. Grant:
    • says that under the voter registration rules, he is entitled to vote where he is domiciled
    • asked if he would still be fighting to vote in Hancock County if told that Baldwin County is his domicile
    • told Ingram that if he was willing to change his address, the proceeding would not move forward
    • Ingram
      • asked if it was public record whose votes were being challenged
  • Chairperson Ransom
    • suggested again that Ingram change his registration information, rather than be subject to prosecution
    • Ingram rejected that offer
  • Stephen
    • moved that Ingram be removed from the Hancock County voter rolls because he lives in Baldwin County, not Hancock County
      • Ayes: Ransom, Stephens, and Youmans
      • Nay: Ingram
      • Abstain: Clayton

ANGELA INGRAM

  • Elections Supervisor Medlock stepped up to the podium to speak to the DDS information
  • Challenger Angela Ingram approaches the podium
    • confirmed that her driver’s license states that her residence is Milledgeville, GA
    • said that she never missed voting, has been voting in Sparta, Georgia and Hancock County for her entire life
    • wanted to stress that her address is listed at Car Station Road but that 75-80% of her life is spent at 12127 Broad Street, taking care of her 86-year-old mother with multiple medical problems
    • said that if her right to vote in Hancock County was taken away from her that she would fight it to the day she died
  • Ms. Grant:
    • asked if she planned to return to Milledgeville once her mother was no longer of this Earth
    • Ingram: said that her home was with her mother and that she would be there until the day she died

Member Stephens moved to remove Angela Ingram from the voter registration list

  • Member Youmans seconded
  • Member Ingram
    • asked how one could make the determination that she does not live in Hancock after her testimony
    •  Member Youmans
      • said that he took care of his mother until she died and that all that had to be done was a change of address at the Department of Driver’s Services
    • Motion did not carry
  • Felicia Evans requests a right to speak but was denied by the Chairman who said that the board was only addressing voters that were being challenged

The two remaining challenged voters were no-shows.

  1. THORNTON

A letter was sent to Thornton, notifying him of this hearing, and was not returned in the mail (i.e. he likely received it).

Jerry Wilson (attorney)

  • was present on behalf of Thornton who was not in the state at the time
  • noted that Thornton would like to continue the hearing to a date on which he could attend the hearing

Ms. Grant

  • suggested that the board proceed and hear his case today but table a decision in his case until the board has an opportunity to notify Wilson or Thornton of the next hearing date
  • noted that time is of the essence because there are hundreds of challenges that must be scheduled

Facts:

  • Thornton owns 358.5 acres of open lands in Hancock but does not reside on that property
  • He does have a habitable residence in Warren County.
  • Medlock
    • approached to speak to the DDS records
  • Thornton sent a letter today stating that he couldn’t be at the meeting and noting that his attorney, Wilson, would be there in his place
  • Last Thursday, Thornton came to the office to note that he had never received information from Hancock County regarding this hearing. He mentioned that he is not often in Hancock County; someone else picks up his mail.
  • Matter is tabled until the next hearing, when Thornton can be present

PATRICK WARREN

  • voted in the city of Sparta but doesn’t reside in Hancock County
  • he has resided at 829 Tradewind Road, Macon, GA since 2009, with Tonya Raines
  • hid driver’s license lists his Macon address as his home address
    • Deputy Barr approached to say that Warren called the office to say that he could not make it to the meeting because of his work schedule. He said he would be sending the board a letter explaining his feelings on the matter.
  • Elections Supervisor Medlock approached to read the DDS records.
  • Wilson noted that they have a Macon police officer involved and so respect is due. He asks that the board table the discussions until Warren can appear to defend himself.
  • Member Youmans motions to table the discussion regarding Warren at Grant’s suggestion
    • Vice-Chair Stephens seconds
    • tabled until a second hearing
  • If Warren would prefer to give his response in writing rather than to attend the next hearing on the matter, he must submit his writing 24 hours in advance, so as to provide ample time for distribution amongst members
  1. Elector Challenges by Marion Warren

Warren (note: different “Warren” than above) approached the board to challenge Don Bevill’s ability to challenge voters. In prior hearings, Mr. Bevill had been the challenger in hundreds of similar cases, instead of Member Stephens. Mr. Bevill lives on Magnolia Lane in Hancock County. Warren wanted to find out the definition of an elector because, in his mind, Mr. Bevill was not an elector himself and so couldn’t challenge other voters. Mr. Bevill doesn’t live in the City of Sparta.

Member Youmans replied that any citizen of the county can challenge any voter regardless of whether that citizen they is a citizen of the City of Sparta.

  1. Procedure for Addressing Electors Identified by Elections Supervisor Medlock
  • Elections Supervisor Medlock has identified around one hundred and twenty-five (125) additional voters that are going to be challenged
  • Member Youmans suggested that letters be sent with handwritten aspects so that they are more likely to be opened
    • letters will notify voters of the challenge and include a voter registration form so as to allow individuals to re-register at their new addresses if they so chose
  • Member Youmans motioned to challenge all the electors whose names are on the list the board was provided during the last meeting. He also moved to challenge the electors whose initial letters were returned.
    • Vice Chair Stephens seconded
    • Unanimous approval of the motion
  1. BOER Chairperson Authority ( Member Clayton)

Member Clayton argued that due to the board’s current inundation (the NAACP letters, the Secretary of State correspondences, the citizens’ complaints, etc.), the chairperson of the board should be granted the authority to carry out the board’s duties on an uninterrupted, day-to-day basis so that the board can finish their necessary tasks.

  •  Member Clayton moved and Chairperson Ransom seconded
  • Vice Chair Stephens disagreed with the idea, noting several instances over the past few months where decisions were made by the chairperson without approval by the board
    • said that she thinks the board needs to be a little bit more involved with how they are handling these things
  • Member Clayton
    • clarified that she was not asking for permission for Chairperson Ransom to make decisions on behalf of the board–just to carry out the day-to-day tasks
  • Ms. Grant
    • noted that there can be legal problems whenever the board members are polled (e.g. if the chairperson were to call the board members before she made a decision on a particular issue)–it can sometimes be construed as an unofficial vote, which would be in violation of open records/open meeting laws
    • calling around and getting a consensus would not be a good idea
  • Chairperson Ransom: clarified that she would be making decisions on behalf of the board only with regard to smaller decisions, not major policy decisions
  • Motion by Member Clayton
    • seconded by Ransom
    • Yea: Ingram, Clayton, Ransom
    • Nay: Youmans, Stephens
    • the motion passed

09.15.15 Hancock County Called Meeting Agenda

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