Kimberly Copeland (Member,D)
Gabriel Shippy (Member, D)
Ken Cochran (Member, R)
Thomas Sandoval (Member, R)
Charlotte Sosebee (Chief Registrar & Director of Elections)
Sheila Nicholas, Hall County Democratic Party chairwoman
Kelli Persons, Program Manager, League of Women Voters
Board provides, on a slide:
Precinct & Polling place – relevant codes = OCGA 21-2-261 – 21-2-269
(e) The superintendent may establish the polling place for a precinct outside the boundaries of the precinct if there is no suitable facility within the precinct which could be used as a polling place and if, by so doing, such polling place would better serve the needs of the voters.
Proposed relocations (discussed below):
Bark Camp currently at The Rivers Community Church
- proposed relocating back to Northlake Baptist Church
- Electors by race: Black: 51; white: 3,203; hispanic: 80
- Member Shippy is fine with this.
Moving Gainesville 1 from Gainesville Civic Center to First Baptist Church
- new location is right across the street from the old location, though technically outside the precinct boundaries
- Member Copeland: there’s no problem at the Civic Center.
- Member Sandoval: I know there have been problems in the past [with political events being held at the Civic Center during voting].
- Chairperson Sosebee: chimes in that she’s gotten calls in the past from the center, saying: “voters are going to see campaign activity if they show up here. There’s a campaign event happening here now,” etc. etc. We don’t pay for the facility at the Civic Center, but people who throw parties do. The venue has an interest in paying customers. It’s not a government-owned building. We already know that the State Elections Board will have a problem with it if something happens at this Civic Center location, if voters are complaining that they were walking in and saw all these balloons with candidates’ names on them. If we see it’s going to be a potential problem/issue, why not address it now? Rather than having to show up at the State Elections Board meeting when we have issues in the future?
- Member Copeland: I think we need to tell the candidates what the rules are. If they break the law, it’s up to them.
- Member Shippy nods his head in agreement.
- Member Copeland: we’re also having to spend money to send out new precinct cards.
- Chairperson Sosebee: it won’t cost as much as State Elections Board fines, if there are issues at the Civic Center in the future.
- Member Copeland: the Georgia Code says it’s okay to choose a location outside of the precinct boundaries IF “there is no [other] suitable facility.” Here, there is another suitable facility.
- Sosebee: “suitable” is relative.
- Member Copeland: You sent an email saying this is a done deal. Why are we even voting on this. I’m talking about the email to Mark Lane that you copied us on.
- Chairperson Sosebee: denies that the email said: “Mark go ahead and make the changes in the system.” I never make changes that this board has not voted on.
- Member Copeland: a couple of other people thought the same thing.
- Member Sosebee reads the aforementioned email aloud and the board seems to agree that she did not tell Lane to make changes without the board’s consent.
- Member Shippy: I’m not going to support moving the location from the Civic Center, for all of the reasons Member Copeland articulated.
Gainesville 2: line adjustment
- Member Shippy supports 100%
Friendship 1: moving from Hall Sheriff’s HQ back to Prince of Peace
- largest precinct: 5,397 active voters
- white: 4,374
- hispanic: 99
- black: 159
- Member Sandoval: we’re going to have to relocate this precinct AGAIN soon. Not a matter of if but when. Two years? When the population continues to grow, we’ll have to relocate out of Prince of Peace Church again. So, in three major voting cycles, those voters will have had to vote at three different locations. We’re talking to a daycare to try to work things out and move the precinct there.
- Member Copeland: there’s a reason most states/counties don’t use sheriff’s headquarters as precinct locations. At least part of the community has a problem with voting at that precinct.
- Member Sandoval: “show me one voter in that precinct who has expressed a complaint about this location.”
- Member Copeland: “I’ll give you the name of one right now.”
- Member Sandoval: “other than you giving me a name, will that person actually say they have a problem with voting there?”
- Member Copeland: “yes.”
- Member Shippy: “I don’t think precincts should be in sheriff’s offices. I’ve said that before; I’ll say it again.”
Nichols, in public comment, mentions: we’ve had issues in the past with voters never receiving their precinct cards in the mail. Mentions that at one precinct location, which also didn’t offer Saturday voting, voters didn’t receive their precinct cards (East Hall?).
Chairperson Sosebee: the precinct cards were mailed on Dec 4th from the SOS’s office. As soon as we get them, we’ll re-mail them. I have a plan to increase the East Hall location as a voting location. I didn’t want to put that out there because I don’t have the staff or the location or the budget for it. If I acquire the staff, we will have an East Hall early voting Saturday.
Nichols: we know people who do not like voting there (at the sheriff’s headquarters). They’re not necessarily the same people that you might think.
- moving Barkcamp from river church back to northlake:
- 0 for (all against) [voters will remain at river church]
- Gainesville 2: line adjustment
- 4-0 (all for)
- moving Friendship 1 from the sheriff’s headquarters back to Prince of Peace Church
- 4-0 (all for)
- moving Gainesville 1 from civic center to first baptist
- for: Member Sandoval and Member Cochran
- against: Member Copeland and Member Shippy
- Chairperson Sosebee: tiebreaker.
- 3-0 (against).